Microdiscectomy in South Korea

Microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure by which herniated spinal are removed. Herniated discs occur when a portion of the vertebral disc protrudes out of the column thereby causing immense pain. This is because, it puts additional pressure on the nerves and results in increased sensitivity, restricted physical mobility and suffering. Microdiscectomy thereby provides an alternative method to extensive surgeries, and allows curing with the help of a minute incision. In general, microdiscectomy cost varies from $18000 to $57,000 and depends on a number of factors. 

What is Microdiscectomy?

A surgical procedure implemented for removal of herniated spinal disc is known as microdiscectomy. Although the procedure does not provide necessary cure to lower back aches or other problems, yet it provides complete relief in case of spinal hernia. Spinal hernia is caused when the spinal disc squeezes out of the column and ends up affecting nerves. This eventually causes loss of physical motion, excessive pain, hypersensitivity of the region, etc. 

Ideal Candidates for Microdiscectomy 

Microdiscectomy provides an easier alternative to invasive surgical procedures. However, for the operation to be performed, one has to decide on the candidacy for microdiscectomy. Hence, ideal candidates are decided if the individual:

  • Suffers from disc hernia
  • Shows persistent pain in either or both legs, possibly indicating sciatica. This occurs due to excessive pressure buildup a on the sciatic nerve as a result of herniated disc. 
  • Has persistent pain over a region for more than twelve weeks
  • Is unresponsive towards conservative treatments and physiotherapy 

Factors Affecting the cost of Microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy cost may vary due to a number of reasons. Besides depending on the country where the procedure is being performed, it also depends on:

  • Extent of microdiscectomy required or the number of vertebral discs affected
  • Extent of damage occurred
  • Whether it is performed individually or along with other surgical procedure
  • Healthcare benefits availed
  • Follow up treatments required for the procedure to be completely successful
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About the Microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy is also known as microdecompression or cervical microdiscectomy. It is one of the most commonly performed spine surgery procedures.

Microdiscectomy or cervical microdiscectomy is preferred for patients with a lumbar herniated disc. The main goal of a discectomy is to relieve the pressure on a spinal nerve root by removing the material causing the pain. Traditionally, this purpose was solved by an open technique called lumbar discectomy surgery, which involves making a large incision to cut some of the back muscles, leading to a slow and painful recovery. Nowadays, an advanced form of surgery called microdiscectomy can achieve the same goal that too with the help of a small incision and fewer injury to back muscles. As a result, the recovery takes less time and is less painful.  A special microscope is used in microdiscectomy to view the disc and nerves. The larger view allows the surgeon to make a smaller incision, causing less damage to the surrounding tissues.

 

When is microdiscectomy needed?

Sciatica is a condition caused by compression of the spinal nerve, which generally results in chronic pain in the legs of the patients. This compression of the spinal nerve is frequently the result of a herniated lumbar disc.  As a herniagrows, the damaged tissue extends into the spinal column and pushes on the nerves. This condition causes the nerves to send pain signals to the brain and the brain interprets the pain source to be coming from the legs.

Most commonly, sciatica heals naturally or with the help of medication in a few weeks. But, if sciatica lasts more than 12 weeks after taking oral medicines, patients may benefit from discectomy. Discectomy is also used for the treatment of spondylosis and lumbar spinal stenosis. While spondylosis occurs due to degenerative osteoarthritis of the vertebrae, lumbar spinal stenosis occurs due to narrowing of the spinal canal leading to nerve compression. The latter may also warrant the need for a spinal stenosis surgery.

How is Microdiscectomy performed?

Lumbar discectomy surgery is typically performed for rehabilitation of a herniated disc. The same thing is done during microdiscectomy, but with the help of a special microscope. During this procedure, a small part of the bone over the nerve root and disc material under the nerve root is taken out, which finally result in relieving pressure on the spinal nerve column. The microdiscectomy treatment starts by giving general anesthesia to the patient. The patient will be unconscious during the entire surgery and is not able to feel anything. Preoperative intravenous antibiotics are given before the surgery.

The procedure is performed with the patient lying face down, generally using a special operating table with special paddings. The surgical region is cleansed with a cleaning solution.  A one-to two-centimeter incision is made directly over the area of the herniated disc. Special retractors and a lighted operating microscope are used to allow the surgeon to see the region of the spine. It helps in minimizing or avoid cutting of the adjacent muscles and tissues.

Before removing a herniated disc, a small piece of bone called lamina is removed from the affected vertebra. This is called a laminotomy, a procedure which allows the surgeon to fully visualize the herniated disc. Small scissor-like tools and grasping instruments are used to remove the protruding disc material. Lastly, the incision area is washed out with sterile water containing antibiotics and the deep fascial layer and subcutaneous layers are closed with a few sutures. The skin is fixed up using special surgical glue and does not require bandages.

Recovery from Microdiscectomy

The microdiscectomy recovery time is much less than any other invasive procedure. Typically, the patient can expect to leave the hospital within 24 hours of the surgery. Patients may be advised to meet a physical therapist before leaving the hospital. The therapist will instruct the patient on how to reduce twisting and bending of the back. The therapist may advise some exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles around the spine.

Patients are advised not to drive, sit for a prolonged period, lift anything heavy and bend over immediately after the surgery. The patient is able to resume normal activities after two weeks, but they are advised to avoid lifting heavy objects for at least four weeks after the surgery. Full recovery after microdiscectomy procedure takes at least four to six weeks.

Microdiscectomy: Risks and Complications

Microdiscectomy is a faster pain relief option than nonsurgical treatment in case of a lumbar herniated disc, but it is not significantly clear that whether surgery makes a difference in what treatment may be needed later on.

Some post-microdiscectomy researchers determined that people who have had microdiscectomy have reported similar improvements as other treatments after one year of surgery. Although it is a less invasive procedure in comparison to other treatment such as spinal fusion, microdiscectomy also involves certain risks just like any other surgery.

Some of the common microdiscectomy risks are:

  • The very first risk is that surgery does not always work, or it may not work better than any other treatment
  • There is a minimal risk of damaging the spine or any other nerves
  • There is a slight risk of some kind of infections
  • Bleeding
  • Leaking spinal fluid
  • Problems associated with general anaesthesia

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the health care infrastructure of South Korea / Why should opt for South Korea as a destination for your medical treatment?
South Korea is recognized for its strict rules and regulations which have kept the country in strict discipline. As an upside, the country has well-maintained regulations for every process and impressive medical healthcare facilities which have garnered thousands of visitors from across the world. The reason for opting for hospitals in South Korea is the astounding treatment options available at a very cost-effective price range, which is undoubtedly more affordable than most of the developed countries across the world. Besides the well-planned infrastructure, the treatment in South Korea and the alternatives offered are tempting enough. Apart from that, the country also flaunts high success rates and has thus been able to cure some of the most complex diseases in the world.
What are the conditions of the hospitals in South Korea? Are they JCI certified? What is the quality of the support staff in the hospitals?
The Joint Commission International (JCI) is a global leader in health care accreditation. JCI accreditation is considered a gold standard in worldwide health care. It provides the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals in the medical industry, as evaluators of the rigorous international standards in healthcare quality and patient safety. YUHS Severance Hospital + Gangnam Severance Hospital is a JCI certified hospital in South Korea.
Are the doctors/surgeons in South Korea of the best quality?
The doctors and surgeons providing treatments in South Korea are globally recognized for their service in the medical field. Furnished with degrees from reputed universities and decades of training and experience, the doctors have earned high success rates throughout their professional careers. The doctors have to undergo rigorous training to keep up with the strict protocol and measures of hospitals in South Korea. Hence, quality is maintained.
What is the process for obtaining a medical visa in South Korea?
The Korean embassy follows a strict protocol for obtaining a visa for traveling to the country. The necessary documents (photocopies and original) have been listed on their official website and should be strictly adhered to. The candidate also has to produce necessary papers stating the medical cause and referral certificate signed by the registered medical practitioner. Although these need to be taken care of by the candidate, the rest of the procedures and further visa assistance is managed by the sponsors in most cases. A Medical Dependent Visa is granted to those who are accompanying a patient traveling to Sount Korea for medical treatment on a Medical Visa. This visa can be given to a close relative/family member or a friend of the patient. Please note that relevant letters/documents explaining details of the treatment, signed and stamped by the concerned hospitals/doctors, a declaration from the patient or an immediate family member is also required confirming the escort travel along with the patient.
What support services does MediGence provide in South Korea?
MediGence enables you to plan and manage your medical decisions better. These are some of our services offered:
  • Expert Opinion
    We help you seek an Expert Opinion on your diagnosis and treatment from an experienced team of doctors at MediGence and specialists from a reputable hospital.
  • Hospital Recommendation
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  • 360-degree Hospital Review
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  • Doctor Validation and Communication
    We share a comprehensive profile of the treating doctor and also arrange a call to clear queries regarding treatment if needed.
  • Options to Choose From
    Based on your choice of destination and other preferences, we provide you multiple options with respect to hospitals and doctors to choose from.
  • 24X7 Patient Care Support
    A dedicated patient case manager stays in constant touch with you to help you at every step of the decision-making process and resolve queries that you may have.
  • Transparent Treatment Cost and Other Expenses
    We give a clear and accurate indication of the total cost of treatment including treatment, stay, meals, and other expenses.
  • Visa Assistance
    We provide and help prepare documentation for visa approval and coordinate with the embassy to expedite the visa process.
  • Accommodation Arrangements
    We propose to you a choice of accommodation based on your preference such as long stay, short stay, or luxury properties.
Which are the best cities in South Korea for medical treatment?
Treatment in South Korea is affordable. Seoul is the capital of South Korea and one of the main cities for healthcare. Seoul and Daegu have some of the best hospitals in South Korea. Busan, Incheon, and Ulsan also have developing healthcare facilities.

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