Patients suffering from a bulging or herniated disc may experience chronic pain due to compressed nerves within the spinal column. Often, these patients are recommended for a traditional discectomy to remove a portion of the disc causing the pain. However, an alternative to a discectomy is a microdiscectomy. Microdiscectomy is a procedure in which the surgeon approaches the surgery using a microscope, entering through a small incision. Though this procedure is still invasive, it is much less invasive than traditional open neck and back procedures.

During the microdiscectomy, the surgeon will remove the disc material pinching the nerve, ultimately removing the source of the patient’s chronic pain. This procedure is often a successful means to alleviate neck or back pain without requiring a traditional open discectomy and because of its less invasive nature, it generally requires less recovery and hospitalization than an open discectomy. Read the following article to learn more about a microdiscectomy and the minimally invasive alternatives available at Austin Midtown Ambulatory Spinal Center.

The main causes of neck and back pain

During the aging process, the anatomy of the spine tends to deteriorate. This deterioration is often the main cause of neck and back pain and leads to a number of spinal conditions including arthritis, bulging or herniated discs and spinal stenosis. These conditions then lead to the compression of nerves, causing patients increased pain, numbness, tingling and weakness.

Minimally invasive alternative to microdiscectomy

Though a microdiscectomy is a less invasive option, patients still risk having their muscles cut into as the surgeon accesses the spinal column, resulting in a painful recovery. Austin Midtown Ambulatory Spinal Center offers a discectomy, which is similar to the microdiscectomy but is a minimally invasive alternative. During the discectomy, our board-certified surgeons+ utilizes a less than 1-inch incision to access the spine and they will then spread apart the muscles, using a series of dilating tubes to access the spinal column.