Arthroscopic discectomy is a procedure performed on the lumbar spine (and the cervical spine to some extent), in which micro-tools are used to perform a minimally invasive procedure. This procedure is not for all patients, but is generally reserved for those with herniated discs with no other complications. Bone spurs fractures, tumors and infections are not treated with this type of procedure. To learn more about an arthroscopic discectomy, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health to discuss your condition. Call Call407-303-5452 for an appointment.

The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Arthroscopic discectomy procedures are extremely minimally invasive. The surgeon will use a range of micro-tools, including mini-calipers, lasers and micro-vacuums in conjunction with a laparoscopic microscope to view the surgery site up close. The benefits of this type of procedure include a drastically reduced recovery time, smaller incisions and the ability to trim and shrink herniated discs very easily. Patients report immediate pain relief from the procedure, and the surgery is generally performed under only local anesthesia, as an outpatient procedure.

How Does Arthroscopic Discectomy Work?

After the administration of local anesthesia, the surgeon will insert a small needle into the space between the vertebras (called “disc space”). A probe will be used to create a tiny incision in the disc itself (usually about 2 MM). Next, the surgeon will use micro-tools and miniature lasers to cut away herniated material from the disc, trim and then shrink the disc.

Once the herniated material is removed and the area is cleaned (disc debris is removed), the surgeon will remove the tools and then use a Band-Aid to cover the incision site.

Recovery from Arthroscopic Discectomy

Recovery time for this procedure is exceptionally minimal. It is performed as an outpatient procedure, and patients are generally released shortly after the surgery is completed. Hospitalization is not required during or after this procedure. Most surgeons will recommend that patients walk and exercise lightly the next day, and avoid strenuous activity. Patients will need to go through another evaluation several days after the procedure to ensure that range of movement, pain and healing are as anticipated.

Who Does Not Qualify for This Procedure?

As mentioned, arthroscopic discectomy is only optimal for certain patients. Uncomplicated herniated discs are the only thing surgeons will treat in this manner. This means that if you suffer from any of the following conditions, this is not the right procedure for you:

  • Spinal tumors
  • Spinal infection
  • Spinal bone spurs
  • Vertebral fractures

For these conditions, there are other surgical options available from an expert surgeon, including corpectomy and fusion procedures, infection debridement and tumor resection. Many of these procedures are also minimally invasive, so patients enjoy shorter recovery times and less discomfort during healing.

For more information about arthroscopic discectomy procedures or other options available to you for spinal decompression, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. Call Call407-303-5452 to request an appointment for a full consultation and to discuss your specific condition.