Definition of arthroscopic microdiscectomy (AMD)

An arthroscopic microdiscectomy (AMD) will be easier to understand once its components are clearly defined.

An arthroscope, a type of endoscope, is inserted into an area of the body — most often a joint — through a small incision. The arthroscope is a tube that allows the surgeon to insert micro tools that magnify the surgical site on a video monitor, which means he or she can perform the surgery without opening up the entire joint or body cavity. In terms of the spine, arthroscopes and endoscopes are used to view the insides of facet joints and the spinal canal itself.

A microdiscectomy is a procedure in which only a small portion of a disc — the portion that is causing spinal nerve compression — is removed. This procedure can help those patients find pain relief from a herniated or bulging disc that is pressing on a nerve root or spinal cord.

How is a microdiscectomy different from other procedures?

There are a variety of ways in which an AMD differs from more invasive open spine surgeries:

  • Outpatient procedure — While open spine surgeries require hospitalization, minimally invasive procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis.
  • No tissue trauma — Muscles, tendons, and ligaments are moved aside, not cut, so the healing process is shorter*.
  • Smaller incision — AMD only requires a small incision, whereas open spine surgeries sometimes require the surgeon to open up the entire back or neck.
  • Less removal of spinal anatomy — A microdiscectomy only removes a small portion of the disc or facet joint, rather than eliminate large portions of spinal anatomy.

More about minimally invasive procedures

Currently, the least invasive form of spine surgery is minimally invasive spine surgery, such as the procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, to treat degenerative spine conditions. Laser Spine Institute offers a microdiscectomy as one of our minimally invasive decompression (MID) procedures. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have helped more than 75,000 patients find pain relief from a variety of spinal conditions.

If you’re ready to learn more about how a minimally invasive procedure can help you find relief from neck and back pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can evaluate your most recent MRI or CT scan to find out if you could be candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.