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As people age, the discs in the spine that cushion the vertebrae tend to break down and wear out. When a disc is particularly damaged, it may be referred to as a "worn disc" or "collapsed disc." In some cases, discs may also herniate or tear, which exacerbates the problem even further. Any of these conditions can lead to uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain, numbness, tingling and loss of reflexes. Symptoms may occur in the area surrounding the affected discs, as well as in the patient's extremities.
Discs that have become worn, collapsed or damaged in other ways typically require professional treatment, especially if they cause symptoms that interfere with the patient's life. Although physicians often begin with conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy, they are not effective for all patients. In cases where conservative treatments have not been completely successful, a physician may recommend a surgical procedure known as a microdiscectomy.
As one of the most common surgical procedures performed on patients who are suffering from low back pain or leg pain due to problems with worn or damaged vertebral discs, this procedure is typically recommended for patients who have been experiencing back or leg pain for at least six weeks and could not find relief from their pain and/or related symptoms through conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy, steroid injections or prescription medications.
Microdiscectomy is often used as an alternative to a traditional open discectomy, which is more invasive and carries a greater risk of complications for the patient. Microdiscectomy is appropriate for patients who are suffering from a compressed disc, worn disc or herniated disc in the lower back. It is particularly effective among patients who experience chronic leg pain as a result of nerve root compression.
A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure designed to remove pressure from the nerves and relieve back and/or leg pain resulting from problems with vertebral discs.
A surgeon performs a disc repair by making a small incision in the skin near the affected disc. After making the incision, the surgeon moves the back muscles out of the way and removes the ligamentum flavum, which is a membrane that covers the nerve root. He or she will then use a small video camera, operating glasses and/or microscope to visualize the nerve root throughout the procedure. Finally, the surgeon removes the damaged disc material to alleviate the pressure while simultaneously monitoring the nerve root to ensure that it is not damaged.
At Manalapan Surgery Center, we have taken microdiscectomy to the next level. Our surgeons can repair most herniated disc and bone spur problems through a small tube 13 mm in size. With the aid of a high-powered microscope, we can safely fix your problem with little to no blood loss. Using our technique, it is not necessary to cut muscle. In most cases, a microdiscectomy will take only one hour to complete. All of our patients go home and their pain is improved almost immediately.
Microdiscectomies tend to be more effective at relieving pain than less conservative treatment options. They also offer several advantages over a standard open discectomy. For example, while an open discectomy requires a large incision, a microdiscectomy can be performed with a much smaller cut. Likewise, surgeons performing open discectomies must cut through the back muscles, causing muscle damage and the formation of scar tissue. During our microdiscectomy, on the other hand, muscle tissue is simply moved out of the way using our very special technique.
Because our microdiscectomies are less invasive than traditional discectomies, the risk of serious complications, such as infections, is considerably lower. In addition, microdiscectomies involve a much shorter recovery period than traditional disc surgery, and the recovery period tends to be less painful. Finally, the surgery itself tends to be much shorter when our microdiscectomy is performed.
If you or someone you care about experiences pain, numbness or other uncomfortable symptoms because of a worn disc, compressed disc, disc herniation or other condition, it's wise to seek treatment from an experienced physician. If your pain cannot be alleviated using more conservative treatment methods, you may benefit from a discectomy. However, only a trained doctor can determine whether this procedure is appropriate for you.
To learn more about any surgical procedure or to discuss other treatment options, please contact Manalapan Surgery Center today. Call 732.617.5990 to schedule a FREE MRI EVALUATION, or submit our online contact form for a prompt response to your questions.