Lumbar Discectomy

A lumbar discectomy is a surgical procedure your spine surgeon may recommend to remove a herniated disc that is causing back pain and/or leg pain, numbness or muscle weakness. This procedure may be done using minimally invasive spine surgery.

To relieve pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, your surgeon may suggest a decompressive surgical procedure called a discectomy. Depending on your condition and specific surgical goals, your surgeon may choose to perform this procedure using a minimally invasive approach.

Traditional, open spine surgery involves cutting or stripping the muscles from the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgery involves a small incision or incisions and muscle dilation, allowing the surgeon to separate the muscles surrounding the spine rather than cutting them.

A minimally invasive lumbar discectomy may be recommended if specific conditions are present. In general, spine surgery is recommended when a herniated disc is pressing into or pinching the spinal cord or the nerve root(s) and you are experiencing:

  • Leg pain that limits your normal daily activities
  • Weakness or numbness in your leg(s) or feet
  • Impaired bowel and/or bladder function

Minimally Invasive Surgery METRx®

The METRx® System is designed for use in minimally invasive surgery and may be used in the cervical or lumbar spine.

The METRx® System consists of a series of dilators and tubes designed to be used during minimally invasive surgery.

Minimally invasive spine surgery is different from traditional, open spine surgery in that the open approach involves making a long incision down the back, stripping large bands of muscle away from the spine and then retracting, or pulling to each side, the surrounding muscles so the surgeon can get a clear view of the vertebrae of the spine to be treated.

Minimally invasive spine surgery requires a small incision, muscle dilation and the use of microsurgical and image guided technologies to access, view and repair spinal deterioration or damage. Muscle dilation involves gently and gradually separating, rather than cutting and stripping the muscles that surround the spine.

To perform a minimally invasive procedure using the METRx® System, your surgeon will make a small (less than 1 inch) incision in the skin of your back over the vertebrae to be treated and then insert a series of progressively larger dilators, one around the other, to gradually separate the muscles and create a "tunnel" or portal through which the surgery may be performed.

Once the procedure is complete, your surgeon will remove the tube. The incision will be closed with a few stitches and covered with an adhesive bandage.


After Surgery

This minimally invasive procedure typically allows many patients to be discharged the same day of surgery; however, some patients will require a longer hospital stay. Many patients notice immediate improvement in some or all of their symptoms; other symptoms may improve more gradually.

A positive attitude, reasonable expectations and compliance with your doctor's post-surgery instructions may all contribute to a satisfactory outcome.

To determine whether you are a candidate for minimally invasive surgery, Contact Us

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