Lumbar Partial Discectomy

Lumbar Partial Discectomy

This procedure is done on patients who suffer from lumbar disc herniation. A main symptom of this particular herniation is pain, weakness and/or numbness going down either leg. Large disc herniations can affect the nerves going down both legs and can affect the nerves of the bowel and bladder. This procedure is done on patients who have tried conservative treatment options first like medications and physical therapy, but are still having significant pain radiating down one or both of the legs.

Lumbar Partial Discectomy is often done through a short (1-inch) incision in the middle of the low back. In order to visualize the underlying disc herniation, a small amount of bone and the yellow ligament (ligamentum flavum) must be removed to see the underlying nerve roots.  Next, the compressed nerve root is moved to visualize the underlying disc herniation. The nerve root is carefully moved, which then gives the surgeon the ability to remove the ruptured disc fragment. After removal of the fragment, the nerve is allotted more space and is no longer compressed.

The procedure usually takes 45 minutes to one hour in its entirety, and can be done under either general or spinal anesthesia. Most patients stay in the hospital for 24-hours or less and are required to decrease their activity levels for 6-weeks following the surgical procedure.

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