What is Lumbar Microdiscectomy (Microdecompression)?

Patients who undergo a lumbar microdiscectomy or microdecompression without general anesthesia report a quick recovery and positive outcome. This lumbar spine surgery is done on an outpatient basis because of the minimally invasive nature. As a lumbar spine surgeon, Dr. Braxton utilizes advanced techniques and technology when performing this treatment. This procedure uses a high powered surgical microscope and specialized instruments to treat a painful herniated lumbar disc by relieving pressure on the nerve root. This is done by removing degenerative tissue and bone from around the nerve which causes the decompression and pain.

How Long Does Lumbar Microdiscectomy Take to Perform?

A lumbar microdiscectomy or microdecompression procedure without general anesthesia commonly takes one to two hours to perform. If there is scar tissue present from a prior procedure, more time may be required. The procedure is begun with a very small incision to provide access for the surgical tools. The area of repair is exposed and the vertebrae is treated allowing for exposure of the nerve root. After repairing the nerve root, removing any adhesions and freeing up the nerve path to ensure normal movement, the herniation is corrected. After correcting all abnormalities, the nerve will be resting in its normal anatomic location and the surgery is completed.

What is the Success Rate of Lumbar Microdiscectomy?

Along with the commonly reported quick reduction of pain relief, lumbar microdiscectomy and microdecompression without anesthesia, has a good success rate as reported by patients. The decrease in preoperative pain is often reported almost immediately. Up to 90% of patients report returning to preferred activities and lifestyle. Another benefit is the reduction in the need for further surgical treatments to the lumbar spine level repaired. Dr. Braxton offers advanced, minimally invasive lumbar microdiscectomy and decompression without anesthesia to provide decreased pain and a return to preferred activities and lifestyle.

What to Expect After Lumbar Microdiscectomy?

Along with a normal post-surgical recovery plan, Dr. Braxton may recommend early mobilization which is now shown to promote a quicker recovery period. In cases where patients may have residual pain, an early exercise program involving appropriate strengthening, stretching and conditioning may help manage pain, along with pain medication and hot/cold therapy. This usually lasts one to two weeks. The stretching exercises should continue for 6 – 12 weeks to minimize scar tissue development. Strengthening can increase after 2 – 3 weeks as soft tissue has likely healed by then. Dr. Braxton will advise patients when to begin a walking program and will indicate the optimal time to return to work. Gradual return to all preferred activities and lifestyle helps avoid a relapse in recovery.

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How Long is the Recovery After Lumbar Microdecompression?

Lumbar microdiscectomy and decompression without anesthesia often has a quick result of decreased pain for many patients. The relief of preoperative pain helps patients feel better overall but the full recovery period must be managed effectively. Dr. Braxton will provide the patient with recovery instructions to return patients to their preferred activities and lifestyle as quickly as possible. The recovery period ranges from between 1 to 4 weeks for a full return of well-being and an additional 3 – 4 months for the internal healing to complete. During this span of time, it is recommended that patients remain diligent in following Dr. Braxton’s recovery plan. Maintaining good basic health practices including sleep, nutrition and the prescribed amount and type of exercise, along with the specific post-surgical instructions will help keep the recovery period as brief as possible.

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