Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy
A lumbar discectomy is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove herniated disc material from the lower back (lumbar), that is pressing on a nerve or the spinal cord. When this procedure is performed with the use of an endoscope, it is called a lumbar endoscopic discectomy. It is considered a minimally invasive procedure because only a small incision is necessary. In addition, the endoscope (a small metal tube with a camera and light on the end) provides direct visualization through magnified video images, as well as a passage way for the surgical tools, so the patient%u2019s muscles do not have to be torn or cut. As a result of the minimal damage to bone and muscle tissue, most people who have a lumbar endoscopic discectomy experience less surgical trauma, and a quicker recovery period, than those who undergo more-invasive traditional back surgery.
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. When determining the exact cause of back or leg pain and developing a treatment plan, the physician performs a physical examination to check reflexes, muscle strength and movement. If nerve compression is suspected, additional diagnostic tests may include a CT scan, MRI scan, and a myelogram. An electromyogram and nerve conduction studies may also be performed to help pinpoint the location of the nerve damage.