Sometimes the ring (annulus) around a spinal disc ruptures and part of the core (nucleus) protrudes out of the ring. This is a “slipped disc” (prolapsed intervertebral disc or herniated nucleus pulposus). The protruded disc fragments can compress on the spinal nerves causing pain, weakness and numbness. This may be treated with surgery if conservative treatment fails or if symptoms are severe, threatening nerve damage.
Minimally invasive lumbar microdiscectomy is a more advanced approach of performing surgery to treat this condition. Under X ray guidance a small incision is made over the back. Special retractors are inserted to approach the spine. Under the operating microscope, a small area of bone and ligament at the back of the spine is removed. The spinal nerves are identified and protected. The prolapsed disc fragments are then removed with fine instruments. Patients are usually able to go home within 24 hours after the lumbar microdiscectomy surgery.