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Microdiscectomy

A microdiscectomy is the most common procedure performed for disc herniations. The procedure itself is relatively straightforward. An incision is made in the center above the offending disc space. The incision is usually 2 to 3 cm in length. Dissection is then taken down to the lamina. A small amount of bone along the lamina and the ligamentum flavum is removed. A burr drill is used to thin the laminae and facets. A special microscope is used, as well as special retractors in order for the surgeon to see through the small incision. Small retractors are used to pull the nerve aside, than small amounts of disc fragments are removed in order to free the nerve. At this point in time the opening/rent in the wall of the disc (anulus) can sometimes be repaired with some new surgical techniques called anular repair (anulex X-close plus). The skin and muscle are then closed. This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis with most patients discharged within 24 hours. Reported success rates have been 90-95% with a 1.5-6% complication rate.

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