A discectomy is a surgical procedure performed for patients who have a damaged or diseased disc in the spine.

In many patients, a herniated disc or other disc disease can lead to several uncomfortable symptoms, including weakness, numbness and pain. To address these issues, physicians recommend conservative, nonsurgical treatments, including pain medications, physical therapy or osteopathic manipulative treatment. If these methods don’t yield sufficient results, then health care providers may suggest surgery.

There are a couple of different options for spine surgery to treat a damaged disc, though the most popular option is a discectomy. Patients can often choose between a minimally invasive discectomy or a traditional open back discectomy. While the two procedures have the same goal of treating a damaged disc, their approach to the spine differs greatly. You should research these two options before choosing which procedure is best for you.

What to expect during a discectomy procedure

During an open discectomy, either part of or the entire damaged disc is carefully removed from the spinal canal. In order to reach the spine to remove the disc, the surgeon must cut a large incision in the back, tearing through the muscles, to have a clear pathway to the disc.

At Laser Spine Institute, we perform an alternative procedure called a minimally invasive discectomy. In this minimally invasive procedure, the damaged disc material is removed, relieving pressure on the nearby spinal cord or nerve roots. Laser Spine Institute surgeons perform this highly advanced discectomy through a small, 1-inch incision, resulting in minimal disruption to surrounding tissue and greatly reducing recovery time* compared to open spine surgery.

In certain cases, the entire damaged disc may need to be removed during a minimally invasive discectomy, causing the surgeons to couple the discectomy with a stabilization procedure. After the damaged disc is removed, an artificial disc is inserted in its place. This procedure would be discussed with the patient long before the surgical date.

By reviewing your MRI or CT scan, Laser Spine Institute can determine whether you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures have helped people from around the world experience relief from their neck and back pain.