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Alternative Names Return to topSpinal microdiskectomy; Microdecompression; Laminotomy; Disk removal; Spine surgery - diskectomy
Definition Return to top
Diskectomy is surgery to remove all or part of a cushion that helps protect your spinal column. These cushions, called disks, separate your spinal bones (vertebrae).
When one of your disks herniates (moves out of place), the soft gel inside pushes through the wall of the disk. The disk may then place pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that are coming out of your spinal column.
Description Return to top
A surgeon may perform disk removal (diskectomy) in different ways.
Microdiskectomy is done in a hospital or outpatient surgical center. You will be given spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).
Diskectomy and laminotomy is done in the hospital, using general anesthesia (asleep and pain-free).
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
Diskectomy is done when a herniated disk makes you have:
If you are having problems with your bowels or bladder, or the pain is so bad that strong pain drugs do not help, you will probably have surgery right away.
Most other people with low back or neck pain, numbness, or even mild weakness are often first treated without surgery. Anti-inflammatory medications [such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)], physical therapy, and exercise are often first treatments. Over time, many of the symptoms of low back pain caused by a herniated disc often get better or go away without surgery.
You should talk with your doctor about what is right for you.
Risks Return to top
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery include are:
Risks for this surgery are:
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the days before the surgery:
On the day of the surgery:
After the Procedure Return to top
Your doctor or nurse will ask you to get up and walk around as soon as your anesthesia wears off. Most people go home the day of surgery. Do NOT drive yourself home.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Most people have pain relief and can move better after surgery. Numbness and tingling should get better or disappear. Your pain, numbness, or weakness may NOT get better or go away if your disk damaged your nerve before surgery.
Talk with your doctor about how to prevent future back problems.
References Return to top
Chou R, Qaseem A, et al. Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(7):478-491.
Gregory DS, Seto CK, Wortley GC, Shugart CM. Acute lumbar disk pain: Navigating evaluation and treatment choices. American Family Physician. Oct 2008;78(7).
Williams KD, Park AL. Lower back pain and disorders of intervertebral discs. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 39.Update Date: 3/4/2009 Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.