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Will I Get Stitches when I Have a Microdiscectomy?


1.11 - Do-You-Get-Stitches-After-Microdiscectomy-Surgery

It is common to get stitches after surgery, although it is not always necessary. This is often the case with minimally invasive surgery such as a microdiscectomy. This article discusses what is typical and what goes into determining whether stitches are recommended or required for a microdiscectomy procedure.

Absorbable Sutures Are Often Used

While every situation is different, it is common for absorbable sutures to be placed over the incision site. In some cases, these sutures are placed under the skin. Either way, nothing needs to be removed, since the sutures dissolve within a few weeks. Wound closure strips may be used as well to protect the incision site as tissues heal. A gauze dressing is typically used to further protect the location of the microdiscectomy.

Stitches Are Not Usually Necessary

It is rare for stitches to be needed for microdiscectomy surgery, since the incision is smaller than the one made in traditional discectomy surgery. A smaller incision site also tends to heal well with sutures instead of stitches, and there is no need to worry about going back to the doctor for stitch removal.

You Should Learn How to Care for the Incision Site

The gauze dressing mentioned above usually stays on for a few days after a microdiscectomy. When showering, it is fine to get the incision area wet. The water can run through the dressing without doing any harm. However, you should avoid water that is too hot so you do not irritate the incision or cause the gauze to fall off.

Avoid soaking in a tub or hot tub. It is also best to avoid swimming in a pool, at least until you get past the initial healing and
microdiscectomy recovery period. Your wound closure strips should naturally fall off. If they do not come off naturally, your doctor can remove them for you. Also, dab the incision site instead of rubbing it when showering to keep the gauze and strips in place.

You Will Need to Watch for Signs of Infection

Even though you will not likely need stitches for microdiscectomy surgery, it is still important to be mindful of potential signs of infection. If your incision site becomes infected, you could have internal issues that require medical attention. Signs of a potential infection include:

• Redness and/or swelling
• Unusual pain or discomfort around the incision site
• Pus or other unusual discharge from the incision site
• A fever
• Warmth around the incision site

If you do notice any of these signs of an infection, see your doctor. Oftentimes, treatment involves antibiotics. Reduce the risk of infection by properly caring for the incision location. Also, watch how you sleep so you are not placing too much stress on the incision site. If possible, avoid sleeping on your back for a while. Make sure to follow your post-surgery instructions to further reduce the risk of an incision site infection.

Although microdiscectomy is generally a very successful form of herniated disc surgery, patients with a larger hole in the outer ring of the disc have a significantly higher risk of reherniation following surgery. Often, the surgeon will not know the size of the hole until he or she begins surgery. A new treatment, Barricaid, which is a bone-anchored device proven to reduce reherniations, was specifically designed to close the large hole often left in the spinal disc after discectomy. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. In a large-scale study, 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in the 2-year study timeframe. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment or how to get access to Barricaid, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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