My doctor has scheduled me for a microdiscectomy of the lumbar spine. How is this operation done?
The patient is asleep on the stomach. A small opening is made and a needle is guided into the disc space from the opposite side of the back. This approach avoids bleeding under the skin or into the muscles.
X-ray imaging called fluoroscopy is used to make sure the needle is in the right place. The doctor uses a microscope to move soft tissue and the nerve root out of the way. The disc material is removed, the needle is pulled out, and the back carefully closed up.