The low back consists of the spinal segment that begins at the pelvis and ends at the ribcage, or the thoracic cage. We refer to the low back as the lumbar spine, the area that consists of five vertebrae, or bones, which are separated by discs. Intervertebral discs have a fibrous outer shell that secures a gelatinous fluid at the center. The discs provide shock-absorption that facilitates full range of motion in the low back. As the most mobile and often-used part of the spine, the low back is highly susceptible to injury and degeneration.
Whenever possible, back pain is treated with conservative methods that do not involve surgery. Historically, when back surgery has been necessary, patients were told to expect quite a lengthy recovery. This is no longer the case. We are proud to offer microsurgery procedures for patients in need of lumbar disc surgery.
What is Lumbar Disc Microsurgery?
Lumbar disc microsurgery, or microdiscectomy, is a technique in which a part of a compromised disc in the lumbar spine is removed. This procedure is performed when severe symptoms do not improve with modalities such as rest, heat, ice, physical therapy, and medication. The objective of the lumbar discectomy is to alleviate symptoms such as weakness, numbness, and pain in the low back and lower extremities.
The primary characteristic of microsurgery is that the procedure is conducted laparoscopically. This means that tiny incisions are made to accommodate a narrow tube with a camera and tin surgical instruments. Laparoscopic surgery observes the surgical field internally and transmits images to a display monitor in the operating room. The surgeon’s visual field is magnified on the screen to facilitate precision modifications to the disc without affecting surrounding tissues.
When Microdiscectomy Makes Sense
Lumbar disc microsurgery is often considered when symptoms of a herniated disc do not improve with other treatments. Herniated discs are frequently the result of wear and tear from extensive use over years of time. The movements and weight-bearing required of the lumbar spine can cause the durable outer shell of one or more discs to deteriorate. The disc then places pressure on the nerve root that exits the nearby intervertebral space, causing symptoms.
Microsurgery techniques provide patients with the benefit of a faster recovery without impeding optimal results. If your back pain is not responding to conservative treatments, contact us schedule a consultation at Princeton Neurological Surgery in Hamilton, NJ. Call 609-890-3400.