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Lumbar Discectomy

Everything You Need To Know About Lumbar Discectomy

My name is Dr Abdul Salam and I am a practicing ortho doctor in Coimbatore, in this post we are going to discuss on Lumbar discectomy.
If you have experienced a degenerative or herniated disc around your lower spine area, often the surgery required to mend this is called a lumbar discectomy.
Lumbar discectomy is an invasive surgery that requires an incision in your back muscles to reach the disc of your spine that is herniated. This is done to prevent the disc from further damaging any nearby nerves.

Lumbar discectomy

In general, a discectomy is the removal of a spinal disc. There are two main regions of your spine: the cervical, which is the neck area, and the lumbar, which is the lower back area.

Both areas can experience a herniated disc, and a discectomy applies to either area. The procedure can either be minimally invasive or open and needs to cut through some bone and muscle to reach the disc.

Once the disc is reached, part of your lamina, which is the hard exterior of the disc, will have to be removed. The nerves will then be rearranged, and the disc itself may or may not be removed. When this procedure is performed on your lower back, that is called a lumbar discectomy.

Open discectomy requires the surgeon to make a large opening in your back to get a full view of the affected area. The minimally invasive procedure, on the other hand, requires the insertion of an endoscope, or small tube, through a tiny incision in your back.

Dilators, which are winder tubes, are then utilized to create a tunnel through your muscles so that the surgeon has more space to operate. Minimally invasive surgery typically takes less time to recover from. However, either technique is viable depending on your case.

Another surgical option is called fusion, which can go hand in hand with a discectomy. Fusion is the grafting of screws and plates into your bones to connect the vertebrae where a disc was removed.

This helps the entire healing process and is highly recommended for athletes or heavy lifters so that the recovery is smoother and more stable. However, fusion is not a common recommendation for herniated discs.

Likelihood of a lumbar discectomy

The doctor will likely recommend a discectomy once you:

Have a herniated disc in your CT or MRI scan

Are losing feeling in the legs, groin, or genitals

Have not responded well enough to, or recovered using, medication or physical therapy

Are experiencing numbness, pain, or weakness in your lower body

Are experiencing leg pain as well as back pain

Are losing control of bladder and bowel movement

Degenerative disc disease

A possible condition of your disc can occur when bone spurs are forming on your aging discs. The discs will deteriorate, weaken, lose their plasticity and flexibility. The spaces between the discs also decrease, and this too can lead to a herniated disc.

Herniated or bulging disc

The inner softer part of the disc can rupture and bulge out of its hard exterior. This will cause inflammation and irritation, especially if the rupture ends up pressing on a nerve.

Making the decision

In most cases, a herniated disc can repair itself within months if accompanied by physical therapy and some medication.But even if your doctor recommends surgery, the decision remains with you. The doctor should inform you if the benefits of the procedure, as well as the list of possible risks and side effects that may come with it. 

The surgeon

Either a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon will be in charge of the procedure itself. If it will ease your mind, you can ask the surgeon regarding their history of training. Surgeons who specialize in spine surgery usually have intensive complex training.


You will probably be required to have a few presurgical tests done on you. These would be an X-ray, an ECG, a blood test, etc. You will also be required to sign several forms containing your risks, medical history, and prior and current medications since some of these have to be discontinued as preparation for the surgery.

The day of the surgery

On the day itself, we recommend that you use an antibacterial soap during your bath. Wear comfortable and loose clothing.
Also, wear comfortable shoes without heels or open toes. Take whatever medicines or advice the doctor has for the morning before your surgery.