Here’s a step-by-step overview of the procedure:
- Anesthesia: The patient is placed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation to ensure they are comfortable and pain-free during the surgery.
- Incision: A small incision, typically around 1 centimeter in length, is made in the back, near the affected disc. This incision is significantly smaller than those used in traditional open surgery.
- Dilating the tissue: Specialized instruments are used to create a pathway to the spine by dilating the muscles and tissues surrounding the incision. This minimizes damage to the surrounding structures.
- Insertion of the endoscope: A thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is inserted through the incision and guided to the site of the herniated disc. The endoscope contains a light source and a camera that allows the surgeon to visualize the area on a monitor.
- Removal of the herniated disc: Using specialized surgical instruments, the surgeon removes the herniated portion of the disc. This may involve removing a small part of the bony structures of the spine to gain better access to the disc.
- Closure: Once the herniated disc material is removed, the surgeon withdraws the endoscope, and the incision is closed with sutures or adhesive strips. The small incision usually does not require any stitches to heal.
Benefits of full endoscopic lumbar discectomy include:
- Minimally invasive: The procedure requires only a small incision, resulting in less damage to the surrounding muscles and tissues.
- Reduced scarring: The smaller incision leads to minimal scarring compared to traditional open surgery.
- Faster recovery: Patients often experience shorter hospital stays and quicker recovery times compared to open surgery.
- Less postoperative pain: The minimally invasive nature of the procedure generally leads to less postoperative pain and discomfort.
- Lower risk of complications: The risk of complications, such as infection and bleeding, is generally lower compared to open surgery.
It’s important to note that not all cases of lumbar disc herniation are suitable for full endoscopic lumbar discectomy. The decision on the appropriate surgical approach depends on various factors, including the location and extent of the herniation, the patient’s overall health, and the surgeon’s expertise. Therefore, it’s essential to consult with a qualified spine specialist to determine the most suitable treatment option for your specific condition.