What is a discectomy or microdiscectomy?

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Hooman M. Melamed, MD
Neurosurgery

Discectomy is the procedure where a spine surgeon removes the disc material that is herniated and pushing on the nerve away from the rest of the disc.  

Microdiscectomy is the same procedure, however, it's miminally invasive and done using a microscope and microscopic tools.  This technique allows the spine surgeon to see the soft tissue/muscles/tendons/ligaments very precisely and minimizes damage to surrounding tissue.  More importantly it allows the surgeon to very safely visualize the nerve and protect the nerve while the herniated disc is removed.  This procedure can usually be done with a small incision, usually an inch or less, with minimum blood loss.  Typically, this procedure is done in an out-patient setting, and the patient goes home just few hours after surgery.  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.