Many people have misconceptions about spinal surgery. They think spinal surgery has to be a big operation or that the recovery time after surgery has to be long. The truth is that there’s a common spinal surgery we perform as an outpatient procedure here at Emory, and with it we get great results. It’s called a lumbar microdiscectomy.
A lumbar microdiscectomy may be right for you if:
- You have leg or foot pain, weakness, or numbness.
- You’ve tried epidural steroid injections and they just don’t work.
- An MRI has shown that you have a disc herniation that needs surgery.
What happens during a lumbar microdiscectomy? A lumbar microdiscectomy takes an hour or less of surgical time. In most cases, you can go home the same day you have surgery—usually within a few hours after the procedure. During the procedure, your surgeon removes the small portion of the disc that has herniated (protruded) and is compressing the nerve root to relieve the neural impingement causing your pain or weakness.
- anesthesia designed for outpatient surgery
- x-ray guidance to make the most ideal incision
- the smallest incision possible
- a powerful microscope for better visualization through that small incision
After the surgery, you’ll be able to walk and do non-strenuous activities right away.
Our success rate at Emory for a lumbar microdiscectomy is very high, with patients often experiencing complete relief of pre-operative leg pain immediately after surgery.
Have you had a lumbar microdiscectomy, or would you like to learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery at Emory? We welcome your questions and feedback in the comments section below.
S. Tim Yoon, MD, PhD, specializes in minimally invasive surgery and is assistant professor of orthopedic surgery and chief of Orthopedics at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Atlanta. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery. Dr. Yoon started practicing at Emory in 2000.