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A microdecompression, or microdiscectomy, is a minimally-invasive procedure that is effective for relieving leg pain or sciatica. This procedure is typically performed to alleviate pain caused by an impingement on the nerve root. Two common conditions that can create an impingement like this are disc herniation and degenerative disc disease.
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We have performed more than 10,000 successful spine surgeries, most of which utilize minimally invasive techniques.
We’re affiliated with the North American Spine Society, keeping current on advances in spinal health.
Make sure to follow your physician’s recommendations and notify them if anything changes in the days leading up to your surgery.
If you are experiencing back pain that has an impact on your daily routine and overall quality of life, you should contact a back pain specialist that can determine whether a microdecompression is best suited for your needs. While the symptoms leading up to a microdecompression surgery can vary, there are three common signs that indicate you may be a good candidate for it.
A microdecompression is performed through a one-inch incision per level on the lumbar spine. The surgeon utilizes an operating microscope that allows them to clearly visualize the nerve root and pathology. A laminotomy, which is a small opening in the bony lamina, is performed to access the disc space and nerve root.
Small instruments are used to remove irritants such as bony spurs or disc fragments away from the nerve roots. This is typically done as an outpatient procedure and the patient returns home shortly after. Most patients will wear a lumbar spine brace for the first four to six weeks after the procedure to help facilitate healing.
After surgery, you can expect your back to feel mild soreness or stiffness, but this will continuously improve in the weeks following your surgery. During this time, you may experience some difficulty sitting or standing in the same position for long periods of time. Since sitting still for lengthy periods can be uncomfortable, it is best to avoid driving or riding in a car for more than 30 minutes at a time. If you cannot avoid long-distance drives, make sure to take periodic breaks to walk and stretch.
Rest is important after a microdecompression surgery, but walking around your home every day can aid in your recovery and help lower the risk of too much scar tissue forming. Patients are generally advised to try walking each day in small increments as often as you can. However, strenuous activities like jogging, cycling, weight lifting or aerobic exercise should be avoided. It’s common for patients to be prescribed a back brace and pain medication to help during this healing process, which typically takes up to 8 weeks.
The amount of time that a patient may need to take off of work depends on the type of work they do. For example, those who work in an office may be able to return to work sooner than those who have jobs that require heavy lifting or higher levels of physical activity.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some potential risks associated with it. Your back pain specialist should be able to walk you through all of the risks and the chances of complication based on your medical background and general health status.
A few of the potential risks of microdecompression include infection, post-operative bleeding, blood clots, pneumonia or nerve injury. While the changes are slim, there could also be long-term risks such as nerve pain, lack of pain relief or surgery failure that requires additional surgery.
Microdiscectomy surgeries are one of the most commonly performed minimally-invasive procedures and are known to have a very high success rate. Additionally, many studies have shown that along with the procedure’s success rate, patients who undergo a microdecompression show positive long-term results.
In a study that followed 500 patients with back pain over a ten-year period, it was found that a larger proportion of patients who chose to undergo surgical treatment, including microdecompression, reported that their back pain was much better or completely gone ten years after their surgery. It’s also important to note that the patients who underwent surgery had even worse baseline symptoms and functional status than patients who chose non-surgical treatment methods.