ENDOSCOPIC DISCECTOMY represents the most significant advance in spine surgery for disc herniations
with radiculopathy (leg pain) in many years. This minimally invasive spine surgical procedure will
produce outcomes equal to laminectomy or microscopic discectomy with very important advantages:
MINIMAL BLOOD LOSS
MUCH LESS postoperative pain
NO OVERNIGHT HOSPITAL STAY - this is an ambulatory procedure
MINIMAL recovery time - No cutting of bone or muscle is usually required
NO general anesthesia - the procedure is performed with IV anesthesia similar to colonoscopy
LESS chance of reherniation at same disc level compared with laminectomy
MUCH smaller incision, typically less than one inch!
The surgery is performed by first placing a needle with real time X-Ray guidance through the skin to the
disc herniation. Once placed, a guide wire will be inserted through the needle and the needle is removed.
A very small incision, typically less than an inch, will be made over the guide wire. Dilators will then be inserted over the guide wire and down to the herniated disc. The a small tube less than 1/2" in diameter
will be place over the dilator, and the dilator will be removed leaving thee tube in place a a "working chanel" for the endoscope to be inserted through to gain access to the disc herniation. Once the endoscope is in
place, the rest of the procedure will be performed with video monitors to allow direct visualization of all
The endoscope has channels for irrigation, suction, fiber optic light source, and a channel through which
surgical tools and laser may be passed. The disc herniation can be removed under direct endoscopic
visualization with minimal disruption of normal tissue. The affected spinal nerve will be inspected to ensure it is free of irritating disc material. When the surgery which usually takes a total of 30-90 minutes is complete, the endoscope and working channel are removed and the skin is sutured closed with one or two sutures, and a small dressing is applied to the skin. Patients typically leave for home about an hour after the surgery is complete.
As there is no need for cutting of muscle and bone as there is with laminectomy, recovery time is very
short and you should be able to return to normal activity much more quickly.