This procedure is performed to alleviate pressure from the nerves supplying the legs from lumbar disc herniations or degenerative disc disease and bone spur formation.
People often refer to their symptoms as “sciatica” or severe shooting pain, numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in the leg. It is mainly for leg symptoms and not commonly used for patients with back pain only. The surgery is done through an endoscopic approach (not arthroscopic but endoscopic using an 18mm tube with direct visualization by the surgeon).
It is done through a small incision approximately 1-1.5 inches long. Using this minimally invasive approach we can preserve soft tissue, decrease bleeding and reduce post-operative recovery time. A small window of bone (hemilaminectomy) is performed to allow visualization of the herniated disc material.
Once the disc material or bone spur is removed and the nerve supplying the leg is no longer being compressed, the tube is removed and the skin is sutured subcutaneously (under the skin decreasing scarring).
Leg pain should get better immediately while numbness may take some time to improve. Walking is encouraged the same day of surgery and patients also are able to go home the same day with no need for hospital stay.
We encourage patients to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for 6 weeks, at which time they can return to full, unrestricted activity.