Endoscopic discectomy is a minimally invasive technique for treating herniated (bulging) discs, usually in the lower back. Using a small, “keyhole” incision, muscle and tissue are gradually dilated, or spread open, allowing access to the spine and disc below. With the tissue out of the way, a highly specialized camera, called an endoscope, is inserted. The excellent visualization provided by the camera allows for the removal of fluid and tissue from the affected disc. With the disc returned to its proper size and shape, pressure on the nerves, and the associated pain, is eliminated.
The procedure is minimally invasive and is usually performed under a local anesthetic, so you will be awake during the entire procedure, which usually lasts under an hour. Most patients experience a significant reduction in lower back pain nearly immediately following the treatment.
You will be able to return home following the procedure. Lifting, twisting and bending are to be avoided for a few weeks. However, because of the minimally invasive nature of endoscopic discectomy – specifically because muscles and tissues are spread rather than cut – recovery, which typically includes a physical therapy plan, is much faster than with traditional surgical procedures. There are relatively few risks and side effects associated with the procedure and we will discuss any concern you may have prior to treatment.
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