A surgery on the lower spine to remove a damaged or herniated disc is referred to as posterior lumbar discectomy. In this process, an incision is made posterior, through the back muscles, for reaching and removing the disc that presses the nerve. Physicians recommend discectomy in those situations where physical therapy or medication fails to relieve leg or back pain caused by spinal nerves pinching. The surgery done to solve this problem can be performed open or through minimally invasive techniques.

The literal meaning of the term discectomy is “cutting out the disc.” A discectomy can be done at any spot near the spine from the neck (cervical) to the low back (lumbar). The surgeon accesses the damaged disc from the back of the spine-through the muscles and bone. To reach the disc, the surgeon removes a portion of the lamina. The lamina forms the backside of the spinal canal and creates a roof-like appearance over the spinal cord. After this, the spinal nerve is retracted to one side. Next, depending on the need of the case, one or more than one disc is removed.

To perform a discectomy, multiple varieties of surgical tools and instruments are used. If it is an open technique, it involves a large skin incision and muscle retraction to give access to the surgeon for an open view. On the other hand, a minimally invasive surgery uses an incision of a small area of skin. To make this process easier, multiple progressively larger tubes are inserted through the muscles. In case of minimally invasive incision the chances of the disruption of the back muscles get limited. It may also require less time to recover.

Lumbar Discectomy is performed on people when their diagnostic tests show a herniated disc. It is also suggested to people who have significant pain, numbness, weakness in their leg or foot.

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