Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in an outpatient setting. Patients come to the hospital on the day of surgery and return home the same day. Typically performed for a herniated disc, microdiscectomy relieves pressure on the spinal nerve by removing the material causing the pain.
After making a small, dime-sized skin incision, a special tube-shaped retractor is placed on top of the spine without damaging the back muscles. A small part of the bone over the nerve and/or disc is taken out (laminotomy) with special tools that fit through the tube. A powerful microscope is used to look around the spinal nerves. Disc fragments that are pinching the nerve are carefully removed.
There are other non-operative treatment options for patients with disc herniation who do not have severe neurologic deficit such as the foot/ankle not moving (foot drop). Please ask Dr. Cho whether microdiscectomy is the right procedure for your condition.