What is microdiscectomy?
Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove a portion of a herniated spinal disc.
Your spinal discs provide padding between your spinal vertebrae. Wear-and-tear or injury can cause a crack in the outer disc. The disc filling can leak and pressure the spinal nerve roots (disc herniation), leading to serious back and neck pain.
Herniated discs often cause back pain that shoots down a leg (sciatica) or neck pain that radiates down an arm (cervical radiculopathy). They can also cause muscle weakness and sensations of numbness.
A microdiscectomy removes the part of the disc causing your symptoms, creating space in your spinal canal so your nerve can return to normal.
Microdiscectomy is also known as microdecompression because the main goal of the procedure is to relieve pressure and pain.
Am I a good candidate for microdiscectomy?
If you have back pain, sciatica, cervical radiculopathy, or numbness or weakness that prevents normal walking, you could be a good candidate for a microdiscectomy.
Dr. Steuer recommends conservative approaches for herniated discs at first. It’s also helpful to avoid smoking since it disrupts healing.
Physical therapy and aquatic therapy improve spine support and encourage disc healing, and you might get pain relief with epidural steroid injections as well.
However, if you try these measures for 6-12 weeks and still have persistent pain or difficulty functioning, Dr. Steuer might recommend a microdiscectomy.
What can I expect after a microdiscectomy?
Dr. Steuer performs minimally invasive microdiscectomy using incisions of only about one inch long. This approach means less pain and shorter recovery.
You can start walking within 24 hours. Dr. Steuer recommends walking as much as possible in your early recovery, and he may recommend a brace as well.
Physical therapy is crucial to your recovery. It speeds the healing and helps you gain strength and flexibility, so you’re less likely to experience an injury in the future.
If you have chronic back pain, Max Steuer, MD, can help you get back to the things that matter most. Call the office to book an appointment now.