What Are The Types of Discectomy Surgery And When Is It Needed?

discectomy surgery - Sriramakrishnahospital

For a long time, discectomy surgery was the best way to treat long-term leg pain caused by a compressed disc in the lumbar spine. Most of the time, discectomy does exactly that. Studies show that more than 80% of people who have discectomy surgery have good or great results.

What is an overview of the structure of the vertebral disc?

The spine, also called the spinal column, is made up of separate bones called vertebrae that sit on top of each other. There are discs between the vertebrae that support the spine by acting like cushions and letting the vertebrae move without touching the spinal cord. 

But if the disc is sick, it can bulge or herniation, putting pressure on the nerves in the spinal cord. This is called spinal stenosis. This can cause back pain, neck pain, or pain that moves from one place to another, like sciatica that goes down one or both legs. In this case, the disc needs to be taken out through surgery.

What is referred to as a discectomy procedure?

Through a process called a “discectomy,” the damaged part of a herniated disc in the spine is taken out. A herniated disc may irritate or pinch nearby nerves. Most of the time, discectomy is a good way to treat pain that goes down the arms or legs. Many people with neck or back pain may find relief from more conservative treatments, like physical therapy.

If conservative, non-surgical methods don’t work or if the pain gets worse, the doctor may suggest a discectomy. A discectomy can be done in a lot of different ways. Most surgeons now choose minimally invasive discectomy procedures using a probe and a tiny incision.

What are the different types of discectomy procedures that are available?


This is a minimally invasive type of discectomy surgery that uses a custom-made operating microscope to light up and magnify the surgical field. This lets the surgeon make a very small cut and hurt the surrounding tissues as little as possible. 

The best approach for open discectomy is microdiscectomy, which is a safe surgical process. Microdiscectomy is also one of the commonly performed types of discectomy surgery. It helps right away with sciatica caused by a damaged disc in the lower back.

Percutaneous Discectomy:

During this type of discectomy surgery, a needle is used to make a small hole in the skin and insert a percutaneous probe. The probe is put into the disc, and a small piece of the disc’s center is taken out. Patients with sciatica or leg pain caused by a swollen or slipped disc can get relief from their pain with a percutaneous discectomy.

Endoscopic Discectomy: 

During this type of discectomy surgery, a small cut is made in the skin, and a probe is moved up to the herniated disc. Then, a light and camera-equipped endoscope is put through the probe so that the surgeon can see the surgery site on a computer. The surgery is done by putting instruments through the camera.

Laser Discectomy:

This type of discectomy surgery uses a laser beam to reach the herniated disc and fix it.

When is a discectomy needed?

Surgery is done to stop the pain and help the person move and work again. In the following situations, surgery might be a good idea:

Reduced mobility:

Severe pain in one or both legs, along with weakness or loss of feeling, makes it hard to move around and do daily tasks.

Herniated Disc:

The most common reason for a lumbar discectomy is a spine disc that has been pushed out of place. The sciatic nerve starts in the lower back, which is another reason. If a bulging disc pushes on this nerve, you may have the following signs:

  • Pain that goes all the way down to the feet and lower body as a whole
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Lower back pain and discomfort along the nerves
  • Feelings of numbness and tingling

Even if the disc isn’t displaced but is still sticking out, you may still feel some of the above symptoms. Depending on how bad your symptoms are, your doctor may tell you to think about getting a lumbar discectomy if they keep bothering you.

Nerve damage to the spine:

Sometimes, nerves close to the damaged disc get compressed. This could include nerves right next to the spinal canal or inside it. If this happens, you might feel pain mostly in your lower back, but this relies on which nerve is being irritated. 

Life-threatening symptoms:

Rarely, a spinal disc can affect the sciatic nerve or other nerves in a way that stops the bowels or bladder from working. If you are having this problem and it is caused by a damaged or herniated disc, you will probably need surgery to ease pressure on the nerve. 

Preferring to return to sports or daily routine:

For some people, the goal of treatment for a bulging disc or other disc-related problems is just to get back to normal without pain getting in the way. But some people may have normal lives that include playing games. If you’re an athlete you might need to consider a discectomy if other methods are not providing you expected results. 

If you’re experiencing persistent back pain or discomfort due to a herniated disc, consider discectomy surgery in Coimbatore

What are the benefits of a discectomy procedure?

Some of the benefits of a discectomy are:

  • Pain relief from herniated-disc 
  • Relieved pressure on the spinal cord
  • Enhanced mobility
  • Reduced inflammation

What are the recovery steps after the discectomy procedure?

During the healing process, the patient should keep wearing braces and shouldn’t drive for at least 6 weeks, both for safety reasons and because it’s against the law. The person shouldn’t bend at the waist to pick things up off the floor anymore. 

Instead, if necessary, you should bend at the knees. Don’t carry things that are too heavy. To keep from getting an infection, the wound should be kept dry. Up until the doctor tells you to take regular baths, you should take sponge baths.

During recovery, you should also keep in mind the following important things:

Sitting Posture:

At first, it may be hard to stay in a sitting position. At first, you can sit for 20 minutes, and then gradually add more time.


During recovery time, walking is good, but it’s important not to get too tired. If you have to climb stairs every day, you should only do it once. Walking will help you get your mobility back faster and lower the chance that scar tissue will form.

Physical rehabilitation:

For people who want to get back to their normal lives, a rehabilitation program will continue at home, with a trained physiotherapist helping with physical therapy.

Joining work:

The goal of getting better is to get back to normal daily life, which includes going back to work. If the patient has a desk job in an office, they can usually go back to work between 2 and 4 weeks after surgery.

Joining work can take up to 6-8 weeks if the work is done by hand and involves operating tools. In general, the patient shouldn’t go back to work without permission from the doctor.

What are the healthy habits to follow after a discectomy procedure?

Quit or limit smoking at least a month before surgery:

If you are a smoker, a discectomy provides you with the right opportunity to quit. This will not only improve health in general but also accelerate the healing process following surgery.

Exercise as per the doctor’s advice:

Perform the exercises your doctor or physiotherapist recommended. These exercises will assist in the gradual restoration of spinal flexibility and mobility.

Important Takeaway:

Studies have shown that between 80% and 90% of people who have an open discectomy have good results. Studies also show that people with radicular pain, which is pain that goes down the legs, may feel less pain after a recommended type of discectomy procedure than those with low back pain. Visit the best neurosurgery hospital in Coimbatore, if you are having spinal disc issues.

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