Endoscopic Discectomy for Back or Neck Pain

Endoscopic Discectomy for Back or Neck Pain

Why An Endoscopic Discectomy Procedure is Performed

An endoscopic discectomy is performed to decompress nerve impingement caused by a bulging or herniated disc. Surgery should not be the first choice of treatment, unless permanent neurological damage is a danger. Initial treatment for nerve compression should be approached through anti inflammatory medications or treatments, as well as therapeutic exercises and stretches.

Preparing for Your Procedure 

In the weeks leading up to your procedure you should focus on a few things that will make your recovery easier.

  • Set up a network of friends and family that you can lean on for favors when you are feeling a little too sore.
  • Purchase your groceries and make sure you have enough to last you at least a weeks time following your procedure.
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  • Plan for a place where you will have everything you want within arms reach:  T.V. Remote, a good book or two, and maybe some crossword puzzles.

The Endoscopic Discectomy Procedure

The patient will be brought to an operating room and intravenous sedation will be administered.  Under sedation the patient is prepared for surgery.  A small working tube that serves two purposes will be inserted into the patient.  Through this tube the surgeon will be able to visualize the spine.  It is serves as a passage for the surgical tools that will be utilized during the procedure.

Under direct visualization the surgeon will now be able to see the damaged disc.  With the guidance of x-ray fluoroscopy the surgeon will use a tool called a grasper to remove the damaged material.  If the bulge or herniation is small enough the surgeon will use a laser to vaporize it as well as harden the disc to prevent any further leak of disc materials.  When the surgeon is satisfied, the tube is removed, and the minimal incision is closed with one or two stitches.

After Your Procedure

With an endoscopic discectomy there is no need for overnight hospital stays.  When the procedure is complete you will be brought to a recovery room where  you will be monitored for a few hours.  Once you have been checked thoroughly and given a thumbs-up, you will be discharged into a companion’s care and be able to return home.  A few days later you will return for a consultation with the surgeon to see how you are progressing.

Recovery from an endoscopic discectomy will take from one week to a month, with most people expecting to return to work after a couple of weeks.  If your work requires any heavy lifting or strenuous movements, you may need to wait a little longer before returning to the job site, or else reduce the laborious work until you are healed fully.