Minimally Invasive Lumbar Discectomy for Sciatica
Lumbar discectomy is performed by a spine surgeon to treat sciatica. Sciatica occurs when a bulging disc in the lower back pinches and inflames a nerve that travels from the spine to the leg. The resulting pain in the leg can be very severe and is often accompanied by numbness, tingling and weakness of the leg. Daily activities and sleep are frequently disrupted by the pain.
In the majority of cases, sciatica gets better on its own within a few weeks to months, but in some patients, the pain does not go away completely or is so severe that they can’t wait the necessary length of time for it to improve. In these patients, surgery to remove the herniated disc fragment can be very helpful.
This surgery is done under a general anaesthetic, meaning the patient is unconscious during surgery. The diseased disc is accessed through a small (about 1 inch) incision then removed with specially designed instruments, including a small camera and microscope to help identify and protect the nerve root. The incision is closed with dissolving sutures and patients are able to go home the same day. Patients will need someone to drive them home.
Spinal Decompression Caused by Spinal Stenosis
Spinal decompression is carried out by a spinal surgeon to treat claudication, a condition characterized by pain, numbness, tingling and weakness that comes on during standing or walking, or moving the arm, walking, or moving the arm; symptoms go away with rest.
Claudication occurs when a narrowing of the spinal canal (called spinal stenosis) pinches the nerves travelling from the spine and limits blood flow to those nerves. The resulting pain can significantly limit activities and patients may need a cane or a walker to be able to go any distance outside the house.
Many patients develop spinal stenosis later in life as a result of degenerative arthritis of the spine. This can cause a gradual narrowing of the spinal canal that goes unnoticed until the nerves are sufficiently pinched.
Decompression surgery treats the symptoms of spinal stenosis such as activity-induced pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. If left untreated, these symptoms can be brought on by less and less activity and in some cases can even disrupt sleep. Surgery is recommended if patients find that their ability to mobilize is restricted by pain and their quality of life is significantly decreased.
Lumbar decompression is done under a general anaesthetic, meaning patients are unconscious during surgery. The spine is accessed through a small incision and the spinal canal is enlarged with specially designed instruments, using the microscope to help identify and protect the nerve roots. The incision is closed with dissolving sutures and a waterproof skin adhesive. Patients are able to go home the same day, but will need someone to drive them.