Lumbar Microdiscectomy

In a microdiscectomy or microdecompression spine surgery, a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to relieve neural impingement and provide more room for the nerve to heal.

A microdiscectomy is typically performed for a herniated lumbar disc. It is actually more effective for treating leg pain (also known as radiculopathy) or bladder or bowel incontinence than for treating lower back pain.

While it may take weeks or months for the nerve root to fully heal and any numbness or weakness to get better, patients normally feel relief from leg pain almost immediately after a microdiscectomy spine surgery.

Importantly, since almost all of the joints, ligaments and muscles are left intact, a microdiscectomy does not change the mechanical structure of the patient’s lower spine.

  • Lumbar refers to the position on the spine, which is the lower back
  • Microdiscectomy means to perform a discectomy via a small incision while aided by an operating microscope
  • Discectomy means to remove the disc
  • A discectomy is a form of surgical decompression, so the procedure may also be called an anterior cervical decompression.