Recent surgical improvements have made new tools available to spinal surgeons who perform discectomies. Microdiscectomy follows essentially the same operative procedure as traditional discectomy, but this newer approach has several advantages: it requires a much smaller incision; it reduces the risk of damage to nearby parts of the spine; and patients tend to recover faster.

In a microdiscectomy, the surgeon makes a small incision in the back just above the area where the disc is herniated and moves muscles aside to see the vertebrae. The surgeon positions a microscope in the small incision. The remainder of the surgery, like more traditional discectomy, involves the removal of a portion of the lamina, the protection of affected nerves, and the removal of any herniated disc material that impinges on nerves.

Hospital stay is a day or less.

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