What is Lumbar Discectomy

Sometimes a damaged spinal disc or slipped (herniated) disc can cause chronic pain in lower back or leg. The spinal disc is cushion like structure placed between the vertebrae and acts like a shock absorber. However, a damaged disc causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves which leads to pain, weakness, numbness and tingling sensation in the back or leg. A surgery performed to remove the damaged and degenerated disc is called discectomy. A discectomy done for the neck area is called Cervical Discectomy and the one done for lower back is called Lumbar Discectomy.

Many a times a discectomy is followed by a Spinal Fusion. In this case, after the damaged disc is removed then a bone graft or an implant is placed at the same spot in order to strengthen and stabilize the affected spinal segment.

How is Lumbar Discectomy performed

In Lumbar Discectomy the spine surgeon makes an incision in your lower back mostly from the posterior part of the body then moves aside the soft tissues and makes a tunnel to reach the affected lumbar disc. The vertebrae above and below the damaged disc are spread apart by a retractor. The spine surgeon then removes the damaged degenerated disc or any bone spurs so that the pressure from the spinal cord or nerve roots can be released. The surgery is done with the help of microscopes and X rays. There are different techniques to perform this surgery.

Open Technique: In the open technique the surgeon uses a large incision and muscle retractors to make way to the affected area. This is also traditional method.

Microscopic or Endoscopic discectomy: Minimally invasive technique or microscopic/endoscopic discectomy. In this technique the surgeon makes small incision and uses dilators to reach the affected area through the muscles. He then uses special instruments, microscope magnification loupes, endoscopes and live Xrays to conduct the procedure.

Depending upon the case, the discectomy will be followed at the same moment with a Spinal fusion where the doctor uses a bone graft with metal screws and rods to make a bridge between the two vertebrae and stabilize the spine.

Why to choose Lumbar Discectomy

Lumbar Discectomy is usually recommended in the cases where a damaged or herniated disc causes back pain or leg pain by building pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root. The solution for such pains is to remove the damaged disc and if need be then followed with a spinal fusion.

Some of the conditions which can be treated by Lumbar Discectomy are:

  • Slipped (Herniated) Disc
  • Sciatica
  • Degenerative disc diseases – wear and tear of disc which results into narrowing of spinal canal or causes friction leading to back pain

When should I consider opting for Lumbar Discectomy

At Spine and Sports Clinic we believe that surgery as an option should be the last resort for treating pain caused by spinal disorders. Not more than 10% of the cases citing pain due to back pain or neck pain or spine related pain needs spine surgery. So do not delay in consulting our spine specialist, Dr Bhavin Shial. If Non- surgical treatments like medicine, physiotherapy, posture correction & spinal injections don’t result into relief in a defined period of time then the spine specialist can list the other surgical options like Lumbar Discectomy. This procedure is usually selected when the cause of the problem is damaged or degenerated disc causing pain or weakness in the lower back or leg region and the solution identified is to remove the problem causing disc.

FAQs for Lumbar Discectomy treatment

What is the cost of a Lumbar Discectomy treatment?

The cost of a Lumbar Discectomy depends upon the severity of the condition, patient’s health, the procedure to be adopted, the equipment, whether followed with Spinal Fusion, the implants, bone graft to be used, the hospital and ward category selected.

Dr Bhavin Shial performs Lumbar Discectomy treatment for patients at various budget and premium spine treatment clinic in Mumbai and he will guide you on the most economical option for you based on your need.

Who is qualified to perform a Lumbar Discectomy ?

Lumbar Discectomy can be performed by Spine surgeons, Orthopaedic surgeons and Neuro surgeons. Dr Bhavin Shial is one of the best Spine specialists in Mumbai and is a certified Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon. He holds a degree in Master of Surgery in Orthopedics and has done his Spine Fellowship from P.D. Hinduja Hospital. He has also earned esteemed international fellowship in Microsurgery and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery training in Germany. In his experience spanning over 11 plus years, he has performed more than 3000 + spine surgeries and provides best spine treatment in Mumbai. He is qualified and has the experience of performing Lumbar Discectomy in open technique as well as microscopic or endoscopic discectomy which is the minimally invasive technique.

What is the success rate of a Lumbar Discectomy?

Lumbar Discectomy is successful in relieving lower back and leg pain in 80% to 90% of the patients. Though the leg pain takes a little longer to go like around 2 to 3 months. If the discectomy is accompanied with Spinal Fusion then it requires a long-term commitment from the patient’s side to follow the post-operative care in order to attain maximum benefit. The success of the surgery totally depends upon factors like patient’s health and age, severity of the condition, post-operative care and follow-ups.

In how many days do you get discharge from hospital after a Lumbar Discectomy?

Lumbar Discectomy patients are generally discharged in 3 to 4 days, however if Spinal Fusion is also done then the hospital and the surgeon take additional care to keep the patient under observation in the hospital for a little longer. In most cases the patient is discharged in 4 to 6 days after the surgery.

What is the post-operative care to be taken for Lumbar Discectomy and for how long a period does one needs to take it?

The post-operative care and period varies for each case. Common post-operative care includes following doctor’s advice on wearing cervical collar, braces, medicines, physiotherapy, avoiding heavy weight lifting, rest, follow-up consultations and keeping a watch on fever and infection. The period of post-operative care ranges from 3 to 6 months.

Is Lumbar Discectomy covered under Mediclaim?

In most cases Lumbar Discectomy treatments are covered by your health insurance or Mediclaim company. The extent of coverage would totally depend upon the type of policy and sum insured opted by you. It is advisable to check with your Mediclaim company and get a better clarity.

What are the non-surgical alternatives to Lumbar Discectomy?

Almost 90% of the Spine problems can be rectified with non-surgical treatments and do not need surgery. At Spine and Sports Clinic, we do not believe in suggesting unnecessary surgical procedures. Dr Bhavin Shial’s first route of treatment is non-surgical options. Some of the non-surgical alternatives for spine problems that he suggests depending on the health of the patient and severity of the condition are Rest, Posture correction, Physiotherapy, pain medicines and epidural injections. It is advisable to visit Spine and Sports Clinic in Mumbai and consult spine specialist, Dr Bhavin Shial to discuss the non-surgical options suitable for your condition.