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Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy: A minimally invasive treatment option for low back pain

Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy: A minimally invasive treatment option for low back pain

  • July 2, 2021
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It is considered a minimally invasive procedure because only a small incision is necessary. Experience less surgical trauma, and a quicker recovery period.

The discs are cushions made of cartilage and other spongy tissue that run between the individual bones of the spine. Through aging, normal wear-and-tear, or injury, discs within the lower back may bulge or herniate (rupture), and put pressure on adjacent nerves, resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness in the lower back, legs, or buttocks. 

Candidates for a Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy

Discectomy is often used to treat patients who have severe low back pain not responding to medication, associated with progressively worsening numbness or weakness in their legs, urinary disturbances.

Benefits of a Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy

A lumbar endoscopic discectomy has many advantages over traditional back surgery. Benefits of this minimally invasive procedure include:

  • Same-day surgery (outpatient procedure)
  • Short recovery time
  • Small incision and minimal scarring
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Retained spinal mobility

A lumbar endoscopic discectomy carries fewer risks than traditional spine surgery and as a result, patients recover more quickly and return more rapidly to day-to-day activities.

Risks of a Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy

A lumbar endoscopic discectomy is considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure. As with any surgery, however, there are risks which include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Leakage of spinal fluid

After surgery, there is also a risk of disc herniation recurrence. If all of the disc tissue is not properly removed during the procedure, nerve pressure and symptoms may persist.

Recovery from a Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy

Patients can generally return home the day of the procedure. Initial pain from the surgery may be treated with pain medication. Patients are advised to avoid bending, lifting, or twisting for a few weeks after the procedure. Nerves may take some time to heal and patients may experience some temporary numbness and tingling in the legs. Most patients can return to work about 2 to 4 weeks after the procedure, however, those with physically demanding jobs may have to wait longer to return to work.

After the recovery phase, most patients experience a significant reduction in back and leg pain after undergoing a lumbar endoscopic discectomy.

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