Microdiscectomy, also referred to as micro decompression, is a minimally-invasive spinal surgery procedure for a herniated lumbar disc. Patients with a herniated lumbar disc experience leg pain called sciatica. This is the result of the disc compressing the spinal nerve.
In a microdiscectomy, the surgeon removes the herniated disc. This relieves pressure on the spinal nerve column and reduces pain with a high rate of success.
Who benefits from a microdiscectomy?
A microdiscectomy is typically recommended for patients who have had sciatica for more than 12 weeks. Most leg pain improves within six to 12 weeks from when the pain first starts. Before doing the procedure, a Physician may recommend an MRI scan to see if there’s a herniated disc. If the pain is mostly in the lower back, then options other than a microdiscectomy might need to be considered.
Patients tend to feel pain relief shortly after a microdiscectomy. If the patient has had numbness or weakness in the leg and foot, it may take longer for the symptoms to resolve. The nerve root can take longer to completely heal allowing the numbness to subside completely.
What is the recovery time for a microdiscectomy?
Most patients go home the same day of the minimally-invasive procedure. Every doctor has different recommendations for recovery. Generally, patients must avoid bending, lifting, and twisting for up to 8 weeks depending on your recovery, as each patient’s recovery period is different.
When a patient may return to work depends on the job and the procedure. Six to twelve weeks after the procedure, patients must avoid lifting heavy objects.