Throughout our life, our spine supports us day to day through walking, general movement, and athletic activities. The spinal discs that separate our vertebrae protect our spine from damage from these type of activities. Over time they experience wear and tear that may result in a portion of the disc breaking away and pressing against a spinal nerve. In these cases several symptoms may appear, including numbness or weakness in the limbs, severe pain, and in some cases loss of bladder and bowel control.
When these symptoms appear, it’s time to speak with your primary care provider. Through consultation with them, various courses of treatment may be suggested, including exercise, physical therapy, medication, and in severe cases surgery. Microdiscectomies are one form of surgery Dr. Peelle, your spine surgeon in Columbia, South Carolina, may suggest, a minimally invasive procedure that will remove the damaged portions of your disc and relief the pressure on your pain, possibly improving your symptoms.
During the surgery, you will be placed on your stomach and administered general anesthesia. A small incision will be made in your back, and the soft tissues surrounding your spine gently moved to the side to provide access to the affected area. A small opening will be created in your spine with a small drill, Dr. Peelle will then use a small microscope and specialized tools to remove the abnormal disc material, relieving pressure on your spinal nerve. Steroid medication may be administered to help prevent irritation to the nerves from the surgery.
1. Why would I need a Microdiscectomy?
Microdiscectomies are used in cases where the discs that cushion your vertebrae have become compromised. Herniation can result in pressure on the spinal nerves, causing numbness, tingling, weakness, or even severe pain in your limbs. In the event that you have a herniated disc that is affecting the function of your spinal nerves, Dr. Peelle may order a microdiscectomy.
2. How might I benefit from having a microdiscectomy?
A microdiscectomy can relieve pressure on your spinal nerves causing your symptoms. You may experience a reduction in leg pain and other symptoms. You may also have an accelerated recovery time due to the minimally invasive nature of the procedure. Rather than removing the entirety of the disc, the healthy material is left in place to continue protecting your spine, and this procedure does not damage the neighboring discs. All of these are reasons Dr. Peelle may choose a microdiscectomy for your case.
3. What risks are associated with microdiscectomy?
Even the safest surgical procedure comes with a certain degree of risk of complications. Microdiscectomies are generally safe but may cause blood loss, painful instability in the spine resulting from the loss of disc material
4. Why do spinal discs get damaged?
Spinal discs are comprised of soft tissue that serves as a cushion for the lumbar vertebrae. Throughout your life they are subjected to high levels of mechanical force, as a result they begin to wear down or deteriorate. They can also be damaged due to trauma creating a disc herniation, a piece of the material that has separated and ended up somewhere it shouldn’t be. If this place results in pressure on a spinal nerve root, severe pain can result.