Lumbar Discectomy

Overview

Lumbar discectomy is a common surgical procedure used to ruptured or herniated spinal discs. Disks work as padding for the spinal vertebrae. Remove pain due to the compression nerve from herniated disc is relieved using this procedure.

Since herniated disks can cause intense compression on different nerve endings, this procedure is helpful for pain management in the legs or arms, involves small incisions, mainly prescribed for arm or leg pain relief.

Alternate Name

Discectomy

Body Location

Lower back or lower part of the spinal canal.

How Performed

The process takes around an hour to complete. First, the expert surgeon gives anaesthesia to the patient, and the anesthesiologist and other doctors check the vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate.

The surgeon makes a small cut on the back near the ruptured disc using a specialised x-ray. Through the intervertebral area, the lead surgeon puts a wire and enters a larger tube through the wire. Additionally, the doctor may decide to insert a third tube.

These steps push the tissues at the vertebra down. Then, the surgeon takes out all of the tubes except the biggest one, cuts out the herniated discs and makes other necessary repairs. Then, all tubes are taken out and the wound is bandaged up.

Preparation

Proper preparation is necessary before going for the surgical procedure.

  • Asking the right questions: You should ask necessary queries about the procedure like the reasons, expectant results, benefits, risks, potential complications, necessary qualifications for the procedure, alternative tests, and cost. Also, ask what if you do not proceed with the lumbar discectomy surgery.
  • Necessary tests: The doctor in charge would handle a complete physical assessment and prescribe other diagnostic tests like MRIs.
  • Medication adjustments: If the patient is on any prior medications, the doctor would check and adjust the dosage. They also provide additional instructions.
  • Food and drink consumption: Before the surgery, go to the hospital and get admitted in the morning. Avoid drinking or eating anything from at least the night before the scheduled surgery.

Procedure Type

Surgical

Follow up

After this outpatient process, patients can return home after some hours. Have an excellent familial support system to help with the travel. Follow the after-care instructions like avoiding heavy lifting or any sudden movements. The doctors would apply a lumbar corset brace for support and pain relief. This is necessary for some time only after the surgery, like around a week. After that, physiotherapy classes are necessary.

If you see any excess fluid draining from the incision area, contact the doctor. A little bit of draining, however, is expected. Also, inform your doctor in case of pain at the incision site or fever.

Risks

Lumbar discectomy does not have significant side effects, but the typical success rate is 85-90%. Potential risks or complications include:

  • Recurrent herniation- Another disc fragment can herniate and give similar problems to the patient after this surgery, mostly later in the future. There is a 10-15% risk of recurrent disk herniation.
  • Infection- The surgical incision area can get infected and bleed.
  • Neurological issues- Some patients notice weakness in their neurological function due to a wrong recovery process or long-term symptoms.
  • Spinal fluid leakage- Injury in the nerves or blood vessels around the spinal cord can also cause spinal fluid leakage.

Recovery

After the procedure, most patients notice an instant improvement in their pain. For some patients, the recovery process is slower. The area where the surgeon cut can be slightly painful, but it is easy to reduce it with oral pain tablets. One must spend an overnight stay at the hospital for observation and then get a second-day discharge.

You can do regular activities like light walking or sitting up. But, avoid heavy-duty work like lifting heavy items, strenuous exercises, or activities that require too much bending.

Contact our doctors today for the best care before, during, and after your lumbar discectomy procedure!

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