A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery offered at UPMC. This procedure treats patients with “pinched” nerves in the spinal column caused by herniated or ruptured discs. Ruptured discs can apply pressure to nerves, causing pain and weakness of the legs, numbness in the extremities, and/or impaired bowel and bladder function. A microdiscectomy can offer a safe and efficient alternative to traditional procedures, and a quicker and less painful recovery for patients.
This procedure requires a one-inch incision in the midline of the lower back. Once the incision is made, the surgeon inserts microsurgical tools to act as a guide to the ruptured disc. The surgeon then removes a small portion of the bony material covering the spine to gain access to the ruptured disc. The surgeon then removes the ruptured portion of the disc and any disc fragments that are causing pressure on the nerves. Most patients are able to return home the same day of their surgery and can usually resume normal activity soon after.