What is a Discectomy?

Discectomy is one of the most common types of spinal surgery that is performed for medical condition like the degenerative disc disease. This procedure is minimally invasive as most of the doctors now perform this procedure with the help of using a microscope. This way discectomy results in less visible scars as well as require shorter time for recovery. In discectomy the surgeon removes the ligaments, bone or bone spurs in the back.

Discectomy is broadly classified in two types of surgical procedures:

  • Lumbar Discectomy
  • Cervical Discectomy

Let us take a brief look at these two minimally invasive procedures and how they work.


Lumbar Discectomy

This operative procedure is usually performed to reduce pressure or compression on the nerve roots that may be caused by a herniated disc or a degenerated disc in the lumbar spine. This is why this procedure is also termed as Degenerative disc disease surgery. A herniated disc in the lumbar spine means the bottom five vertebrae. A herniated or degenerative disc can cause a lot of discomfort with symptoms like back pain as well as numbness in feet and legs. If the symptoms turn severe like physical disability, severe leg pain, extreme numbness and weakness and impaired bladder or bowel function then surgery may be a requirement. In this procedure the disc or a portion of the disc that is putting pressure on the nerve is removed.

Cervical Discectomy

In cervical discectomy those bone spurs and intervertebral discs are removed that are putting pressure on the nerve roots. This procedure is performed in the cervical or neck region of the spinal column where nerve compression due to a herniated or degenerated disc leads to the patient feeling pain in the neck and arms as well as numbness and weakness in the arms. An incision or cut is made in the cervical area to one side and the disc removed. When the degenerated disc is removed, the compression on the nerve root is reduced which in turn relieve pain and other symptoms as well.