Evolution of Technology


Microdiscectomy, also sometimes called microdecompression or microdiskectomy, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed on patients with a herniated lumbar disc. It is one of the most common spine surgeries with roughly 300,000 cases performed a year in the US. There are a number of different techniques to perform the surgery to include a small open incision, dilating tubes, and endoscopic with a small video camera. During this surgery, a surgeon will remove portions of the herniated disc to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve column.

Most microdiscectomies take about an hour to complete. While it may take weeks or months for the nerve root to fully heal and any numbness or weakness to get better, patients normally feel relief from the leg pain almost immediately after a microdiscectomy. The success rate for microdiscectomy spine surgery is generally high, with one extensive medical study showing good or excellent results in 84% of people who had the procedure.

Evolution of Procedure

Herniated Vertebral Disc Excision Surgery

Discectomy, is a procedure in which the disc causing pressure on the nerves is surgically removed. This is the most common surgery performed for a herniated disc in the lumbar region. Years ago, most spine surgeons would remove a herniated disc using a large surgical incision causing significant disruption to the underlying soft tissues. This would often involve a long hospital stay and prolonged recovery period.

Today, with more modern developments, many surgeons use a microscopic surgical approach with a small, minimally invasive, poke-hole incision to remove the disc herniation, allowing for a more rapid recovery. Usually, only the small portion of the disc that is pushing against the nerve root needs to be removed, and the majority of the disc remains intact. It has a high success rate, especially in relieving leg pain (or sciatica), caused by the herniated portion of the disc pressing against a nerve.

Two common surgical options are a microdiscectomy and an endoscopic discectomy. These two minimally invasive approaches to discectomy are done through a thin tube, or series of tubes, which are inserted into the lower back to provide a corridor of sorts to allow the surgeon to access the offending disc herniation with minimal tissue disruption.