Lumbar Microscopic discectomy is the most common surgical treatment for ruptured or herniated discs of the lumbar spine. When the outer wall of a disc, the annulus fibrosus, becomes weakened, it may tear allowing the soft inner part of the disc, the nucleus pulposus, to push its way out. This is called disc herniation, disc proplapse or a slipped or bulging disc. Once the inner disc material extends out past the regular margin of the outer disc wall, it can press against very sensitive nerve tissue in the spine. The disc material can compress or even damage the nerve tissue, and this can cause weakness, tingling or pain in the back area and into one or both legs. In severe ases it can cause paralysis and or loss of bladder/bowel control. Lumbar Microscopic discectomy means removal of part of the damaged disc and thus to relieve the pressure on the nerve tissue and alleviate the pain. The surgery involves a small incision in the skin over the spine, removal of some ligament and sometimes bone material to access the disc and the removal of herniated segment.
Lumbar Microscopic discectomy has been performed and improved over the course of the past 60 years. Over time, the procedure has been refined and nowadays most patient are discharged either on same or next day of surgery.
Usually performed under general anesthesia (the patient is unconscious) and typically requires a one-day hospital stay. It is performed while the patient is lying face down or in a kneeling position. During the procedure, the surgeon will make an approximately one-inch incision in the skin over the affected area of the spine. disc is taken out using either the endoscope, microscope or sometimes both.
After the Procedure
After surgery, you may feel pain at the site of the incision, and the original pain may not be completely relieved immediately after surgery. You will be prescribed pain medication to ease you through the immediate postoperative period. You will be instructed on deep breathing techniques and encouraged to cough in order to free your lungs of any fluid buildup that may occur due to the general anesthesia. It is recommended that, with supervision, you begin walking as soon as you are fully recovered from the anesthesia. This will aid in your recovery.
Before you are discharged from the hospital, a physical therapist may visit with you to help you feel comfortable performing activities such as climbing stairs, sitting and getting out of a car or bed. Once you are discharged from the hospital, your physician may prescribe a physical therapy regimen suited to your condition.
At home, you may have some minor restrictions such as not sitting for long periods of time, lifting objects more than five pounds, or excessive bending or stretching for the first four weeks after surgery. Also, you should not attempt to drive an automobile until you have been instructed to do so by your physician.
Walking is the first physical activity you can attempt—in fact it is widely encouraged. Walking will allow you to maintain mobility in your spine as well as decrease the risk of scar tissue forming at the operative site. In a few weeks, you may be allowed to ride a bike or swim. Formal physical therapy may maximize your recovery.
Most people with jobs that are not physically challenging can return to work in two to four weeks or less. Those with jobs that require heavy lifting or operating heavy machinery that can cause intense vibration may need to wait at least six to eight weeks after surgery to return to work. Again, physical therapy may have a role in your recovery.