This procedure is a true break through for surgery for the lumbar spine. Other minimally invasive spinal procedures fall into two categories: (1) open surgery with a smaller incision, or (2) a procedure or method to shrink or change the disc through the use of an instrument passes through a needle.
Endoscopic discectomy is a variation of the arthroscopic surgery of the joints and should more appropriately be called Spine Arthroscopy. With the patient under sedation with only local anesthesia, this procedure employs the use of x-ray guidance to insert a scope into the disc usually from both sides. Under direct visualization the disc material may be removed using state-of-the-art technology.
Precision made instruments are passed through the scope; these include radiofrequency probes, lasers, and the same instruments used in open surgery. The targeted portions of the discs are excised, under some instances the broken outer portion of the disc may be sealed and the rest of the disc left behind. Walking is permitted the same day and the patient is discharged within a few hours.
Benefits of selective lumbar endoscopic discectomy when compared to alternative open surgical procedures:
- Much less pain, post-operatively
- A very small incision
- The structure of the disc is largely left intact
- The pinched nerves may be directly visualized
- Complications are reasonably less than open surgery as much less soft tissue injury occurs
- Probably significant cost savings