What is lumbar microsurgery?
Lumbar microsurgery is a relatively new procedure and is far less invasive than similar procedures. It is commonly used to treat the following back conditions:
- A herniated disc
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Spondylolisthesis (the forward displacement of a disc)
In the past a lengthy operation would have been needed to effectively treat these conditions. Lumbar microsurgery normally takes around an hour and as a special microscope is used, the surgeon only needs to make a small incision. This means it is unnecessary for the surgeon to remove large areas of muscle to reach the damaged area of spine – only the damaged material is removed so the disc is left intact. The scar left by this procedure is also normally very small, which aids recovery.
An example of when lumbar microsurgery is used
A herniated disc occurs when the liquid inside a disc pushes through the outer layer of cartilage, putting pressure on spinal nerves. It can cause pain in the lower back and leg, but lumbar microsurgery can help to alleviate this. A small incision is made above the problematic disc and the spinal cord is moved aside while the damaged material is removed, relieving the pressure.
Post-operation patients normally experience some pain and, in a few cases, muscle spasms for a short period of time. The procedure is an effective way of treating conditions like a herniated disc which has very debilitating symptoms. Although recovery time depends on the condition and the individual, it is far quicker than other, more traditional treatments.
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