Discectomy Versus Microdiscectomy: Which One Should You Go For?

Discectomy Versus Microdiscectomy: Which One Should You Go For?

Discectomy is a surgical procedure performed by experienced neurosurgeons to remove the herniated disc material from the lower (lumbar) back (spine). This is done to remove the herniated disc material from the lumbar spine, which is pressing against the nerve root or the spinal cord.

Compression of the nerve root or the spinal cord results in extreme pain in the lower back, which may radiate down the leg. This can terribly affect the movement of individuals and reduce their quality of life.

There are two types of discectomy surgeries – open discectomy and microdiscectomy. The latter was introduced into the clinical practice in the 1970s and slowly took over the traditional approach of treatment for herniated lumbar disc.

Both these approaches intend to obtain the same result, that is, to relieve the pressure of the compressed nerve root. The main objective is to relieve the pain, numbness, weakness, and the loss of motion that the patient is experiencing. However, the approach to remove the herniated disc material is different.

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This article talks about the difference in the approach used in open discectomy and microdiscectomy. Additionally, it examines whether it is more beneficial to undergo open surgery to minimally invasive and whether there is any difference in the outcomes.

Open Discectomy versus Microdiscectomy: Difference in Approach

Discectomy vs microdiscectomy: Spinal-Cord-Injury

In open discectomy, the surgeon makes a single, large cut to expose the herniated disc. Different surgical tools are then used to remove the herniated disc material to remove the pressure off the nerve root. Lastly, the incision is closed with the help of sutures.

In the case of microdiscectomy, on the other hand, the surgeon makes use of a microscope to have an enlarged view of the herniated disc. This is why only a small incision is required by the surgeon to insert the miniature tools and remove the herniated disc material.

Consult with the Top Neurosurgeon World-Wide Over a Video Call for Microdiscectomy

Puneet Girdhar

Neurosurgeon

Delhi, India


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Aditya Gupta

Neurosurgeon

Gurgaon, India


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Akin Akakin

Neurosurgeon

Istanbul, Turkey


Book @ USD 220

S K Rajan

Neurosurgeon

Gurgaon, India


Book @ USD 50

Pritam Majumdar

Neurologist, Neurosurgeon

Delhi, India


Book @ USD 42

Komal Bohra

Neurologist

Hyderabad, India


Book @ USD 30
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Which One Is Better?

There is no answer when it comes to the question that which approach is better than the other. It largely depends on the choice and the comfort of the surgeon and the condition of the patient.

Disc herniation may take place at several levels. Therefore, a surgeon may decide to conduct an open surgery if it is at multiple places. If only a single disc is affected, microdiscectomy could be a better approach. However, that does not mean that minimally invasive discectomy surgery cannot be conducted if the herniation is at several levels.

Over the last two decades, several researchers have conducted studies to analyze the difference in the outcomes associated with open discectomy and microdiscectomy. However, no research has proven significant different so far.

People who undergo open discectomy or microdiscectomy show similar improvements after one year of the surgery. Even though there may be no significant difference in the outcomes, there are a few clear-cut benefits that microdiscectomy has over open surgery. Some of these benefits include the following:

  • Microdiscectomy is considered to be more accurate because the surgeons can actually see the enlarged internal images on the computer screen.
  • The surgery time is less as compared to open discectomy.
  • There is a less risk of infection as the incision size is extremely small in comparison to open discectomy.
  • Less number of days in the hospital.
  • Reduced risk of post-surgical complications.
  • Quick recovery and return to normal routine.
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Is Surgery Mandatory For Lumbar Disc Herniation?

No, surgery is not always the only option for the treatment of herniated lumbar disc. Lumbar disc herniation can cause functional disability and terrible sciatic pain. However, a surgery is only advised when there is no other option left. It is also done when the patient has had persistent radicular pain even after two to six months.

Generally, a doctor advises a surgery in the following cases:

  • When there is a persistent pain, numbness, and weakness, which is affecting the quality of life.
  • When the pain does not get better even after several weeks of nonsurgical treatment such as physical therapy.
  • The tests and physical examination conducted by the doctor show that there is a loss of motion, weakness, or abnormality that can definitely get better with a surgery.

Even though the patient can take their own time to decide whether or not to undergo a surgery after it has been suggested, it is sometimes conducted as an emergency procedure. A doctor conducts open discectomy or microdiscectomy as an emergency procedure when the patient experiences cauda equina syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Loss of bladder control
  • New weakness or tingling sensation in both or just a single leg
  • Numbness or tingling sensation in the buttocks or genitals

Advantages of Discectomy Over Nonsurgical Treatment

Nonsurgical treatment may take months to provide some bit of relief in the case of extensive lumbar disc herniation. In such cases, a discectomy can offer quick and long-term relief while tremendously improving the quality of life of the patient.

Some of the major problems associated with lumbar disc herniation such as weakness, numbness, loss of motion, and tingling sensation are almost immediately taken care of by the discectomy surgery.

Additionally, the surgical procedure allows for quick return to the normal day-to-day routine. The patients are advised an early surgical intervention when pain is incapacitating. It is also done when the patient is restricted to the bed with the strong administration of pain-relieving medications.

Prolonged pain due to nerve compression may bring undesirable lifestyle changes in the life of the patient. Additionally, he or she may lose the motivation to return to work or daily routine if they continue to suffer from pain for long. In such cases, a surgery is conducted for better outcomes.

Some of The Top Hospital for Microdiscectomy

Asan Medical Centre

Seoul,South Korea

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Asan Medical centre is the largest hospital in Korea attracting an increasing number of patients every year. Situated across an area of 574,700 m2 the hospital has 2700+ beds attracting 11,862 outpatients and 2557 in-patients on an average per day.

The hospital is one of the preferred centres for critical procedures like cardiac, organ transplants, Cancer, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology etc. It boasts of state-of-the-art medical facilities comparable to that of advances hospita... Read More

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Tel Aviv Medical Center is one of the leading multi-disciplinary hospitals in Israel. The hospital with its modern infrastructure, cutting-edge technologies offering world-class healthcare standards is one of the premier hospitals and a preferred destination for medical tourists coming to Israel from all over the world.

Spanning an area of around 52 acres, the hospital comprises of 60 departments across its 5 institutions.

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Max Smart is a 250 bedded multi-speciality tertiary care hospital owned and operated by the Max Healthcare Group. Offers services across multiple specialities like Cardiac, Orthopedics, Urology, Neurology, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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Lifecare Hospital, Musaffah

Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates

  • ISO 9001
  • Joint Commission International, or JCI

Located in Abu Dhabi, Lifecare Hospital is the unit of VPS Healthcare. It endeavours to offer cost-effective yet premium healthcare services to serve the growing needs of the massive population of the emirates of Abu Dhabi. Lifecare Hospital continues to keep pace with the latest developments in healthcare delivery systems and follows the best practices to improve their service delivery standards. Lifecare Hospital offers its patients the facilities of critical care services (ICU, NICU), phy... Read More

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Kadikoy Hospital has 35 years of experience in offering services in the medical field at a high level. The hospital is dedicated to the patients’ satisfaction, which is attained by the use of advanced technology, the use of new methods and traditional service quality.

In order to fulfil the increasing demand of patients, Acibadem Kadıköy Hospital was renovated in 1998, growing the area of enclosed section three-fold from 5000 m² to 17.600 m². In 2008, all inpati... Read More

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When it comes to medical services, people nowadays do not compromise with the treatment at all. There are people who are going on health tours just to cure their health complication by the best doctors available out there. The health industry all around the world has been changing, so many hospital and clinics are opening up to serve people and the competition is rapidly increasing alongside in this industry as well.

Lokman Hekim Esnaf Hospital in Turkey is one of the oldest members ... Read More

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Medical Park Karadeniz Hospital is operated by Medical Park Hospital Group, the largest hospital group in Turkey. The hospital is in the prime location with excellent connectivity and serves the people of Trabzon and Black sea along with International patients. Hospital is just 7.5 km from the airport, 3 km to the city center and 5 km from the bus station. The hospital meets the international standards of healthcare and attracts many medical tourists fro... Read More

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Watch this Patient Testimonial | Successful Microdiscectomy Surgery

Last modified on blank at Apr 05, 2022

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Vijita

With over 14 years of experience. Dr. Vijita Jayan is an extremely competent, skilled & revered Senior Neuro Physiotherapist. She holds an impeccable academic record and extensive experience in the field of neuro-rehabilitation. She is renowned for handling mobility-dependent cases. She is also an avid writer of several published articles & research papers. Being awarded several accolades in her career, she is considered one of the leading names In the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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