Lumbar surgery refers to any type of surgery in the lumbar spine, or lower back, between one or more of the L1-S1 levels.
The microdiscectomy procedure is indicated in patients with sciatica or lumbar radiculopathy that is the result of a slipped disc (herniated nucleus polposus). This is done under general anesthesia through a small 2 cm incision. Using microscopic magnification and minimally invasive surgical techniques, a small rim of bone is shaved to allow access to the nerve and disc.
Through the small incision the nerve is localized and gently retracted. This allows exposure of the disc herniation. This disc fragment is then easily removed with a special instrument. This removes the pressure and irritation from the nerve and as a result alleviates the sciatic pain. Patients typically go home several hours after the surgery.
Interspinous Decompression (Aspen Device)
This is a low-risk surgical procedure used to indirectly decompress pinched nerves in the spine. The surgery is performed using a standard incision and exposure of the spinous processes (the raised bones you feel on your back). The space between two of these bones is expanded with special instrumentation and a spacer device is inserted and clamped into place. This allows the inflamed bony and soft tissues to relax and move away from the nerve structures in and around the spinal canal.
Patients with lumbar stenosis who have primarily leg symptoms (pain, tingling, weakness) are generally good candidates for this procedure. Patients who have complete resolution of symptoms upon sitting or forced bending (such as leaning on a shopping cart) generally have excellent results with this low-risk surgery. One major advantage of this procedure is that it is usually performed in less than one hour and usually requires limited hospitalization – even in patients with multiple medical problems.