Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy

Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure. This method only requires an 8mm incision. This process aims to remove a portion of the herniated disk that causes discomfort. An endoscope lets the surgeon see all of the cuts being made inside of the disk and can target a precise area. The procedure does not take much time and the recovery time for the patient is quick. Typically, patients can walk right after the procedure.

What is it?   

An endoscopic lumbar discectomy is an alternative to the traditional method of open lumbar surgery. The procedure is performed on patients with herniated disks in the lower back causing pain. The goal is to remove the herniated disk(s), relieving pressure on nearby nerves and reducing back and leg pain, leading the patient to live a more comfortable life. Using a camera and endoscopic light, the surgeon can guide the endoscope through the body in a minimally invasive way with good visualization.

What should I do to prepare?  

Completion of pre-surgical tests is necessary.  Make a list of all of the medications you currently take and show them to your doctor. Some of these drugs may need to be discontinued before the surgery, particularly blood thinners. You should stop smoking and drinking alcohol in the weeks leading up to the procedure. There should be no drinking or eating after the midnight before the surgery.

What happens during the process?  

The patient will lie in a prone (face down) position on the procedure table and be given some medication that will help them relax. A small incision is made above the disk space, and a thin wire is guided through the incision down to the damaged portion of the spine. A tube will be inserted around the wire, and the endoscope and necessary surgical instruments will be guided down this tube. Using fluoroscopic guidance, the surgeon can remove the damaged part of the disk(s), and then remove the tube and wire, closing the incision.

What are the risks and potential complications? 

An endoscopic lumbar discectomy is a very safe and low-risk procedure, but as with all medical procedures, there are potential complications and side effects. These include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and leakage of spinal fluid.


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