• McAllen, TX - Rio Grande Valley Orthopedic Center
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Types of Disc Surgery

Relieving the Pain

Persistent pain in your low back or leg caused by spinal disc problems can be frustrating because it limits your ability to move and do the things you enjoy. Your disc problem may be corrected by a discectomy, the surgical removal of the portion of the disc that’s putting pressure on a nerve, causing pain. in your back or leg. Your surgeon may recommend a “classic” discectomy, a micros discectomy, or a percutaneous discectomy. The basic differences among these disc surgeries are the size of the incision, how your surgeon reaches your disc, and how much of the disc is removed. The “classic” discectomy and microdiscectomy require a hospital stay of a few days. Percutaneous discectomy is usually an out-patient surgery.

“Classic” Discectomy

To remove the disc material that is causing the pain, your surgeon first makes an incision in the midline of your back (over the bump you feel when you run your hand over your lower spine). Then, to see and reach the damaged disc, your surgeon removes some or all of the lamina. Next your surgeon removes the disc material that is pressing on a nerve.

The incision is 2-3 inches long.


Your surgeon may recommend a microdiscectomy to treat your disc problem. This surgery is much like the “classic” discectomy, except that your surgeon uses an operating microscope to magnify, highlight, and see the disc. A magnified view means that the incision, located in the midline of your back, is smaller than that of a “classic” discectomy, with less damage to surrounding tissue.

The incision is about an inch long.

Percutaneous Discectomy

Is an outpatient procedure that uses x-ray pictures and a video screen as a guide for your surgeon to reach and fix the damaged disc. The incision, made in the small of your back, is about the size of a puncture wound. Because your surgeon can see the damaged disc on a video screen, it’s not necessary to remove bone to view and reach the disc. After surgery, a small bandage is placed over the incision.

The incision is about 1/4 inch long, large enough to insert a small instrument.

Disc material is removed with surgical instruments