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Micro Endoscopic Discectomy: A Minimally-Invasive Procedure
by Dr. C. Chambliss Harrod
Micro Endoscopic Discectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure designed to relieve pain caused by herniated discs pressing on nerve roots. It is performed through a tubular device, usually on an outpatient basis, which allows the patient to leave the surgery center the same day.
The procedure consists of a guide wire inserted through a small incision and pushed to the affected level. The surgeon uses a special type of x-ray machine called a fluoroscope to ensure that the route to the herniated disc is made in the correct location. A series of dilating tubes are passed over the guide wire to push apart the tissue down to the vertebrae. The guide wire is then removed.
The tubular retractor, through which the surgery will be performed, is slid over the dilating tubes. It is positioned on the bone surface. All the dilating tubes are then removed. A surgical light and small camera or microscope are used to see through the tube. Surgical instruments are used to clear away bone and soft tissue in order to access the spinal canal. The surgeon uses a nerve retractor to gently move the nerve away from the herniated disc.
The herniated portion of the disc is removed and the area is cleared, which allows room for the nerve to move back to its normal position. The tubular retractor is removed, allowing the body tissue to close around the surgery area. The surface wound is closed with a small bandage.