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What to Know about Microdiscectomy with Foraminotomy


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Microdiscectomy with foraminotomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to provide relief from back pain and other related symptoms. It is typically used to treat herniated discs and other conditions that cause compression of the nerves in the spinal column. This article discusses what microdiscectomy with foraminotomy is designed to treat, how it works, and what to expect during and after the procedure.

What Does Microdiscectomy with Foraminotomy Treat?

The spine is made up of individual bones called vertebrae that are stacked on top of one another. Between each vertebra is a cushion-like disc that acts as a shock absorber and allows for movement of the spine. Sometimes, due to age, injury, or other factors, these discs can become damaged or weakened, causing them to herniate, which occurs when the inner disc material pushes outward enough to irritate nearby nerves and cause pain, numbness, and tingling.

The goal of microdiscectomy with foraminotomy is to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves that are causing back pain, including low back pain and other associated symptoms, and the procedure is typically recommended when conservative treatments, such as rest, physical therapy, and medications, have failed to relieve the symptoms of a herniated disc that is compressing spinal nerves. A foraminotomy is often performed in conjunction with a microdiscectomy, and it involves removing part of the bone around the nerve root to relieve pressure on the nerve.

What Happens during the Procedure?

Microdiscectomy with foraminotomy is typically performed under general anesthesia, although it may also be performed using local anesthesia with sedation. The procedure usually takes between one and two hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the case.

During the procedure, the patient will lie face down on the operating table, and the surgeon will make a small incision in the back or neck. If a foraminotomy is also being performed, the surgeon will remove a small piece of bone from the vertebrae to create more space for the nerve to pass through. This allows the surgeon to access the herniated portion of the disc and remove it without damaging surrounding tissues. Once the herniated portion of the disc has been removed, the incision is closed using stitches or adhesive strips.

What Can a Patient Expect After the Procedure?

After the procedure, the patient will be monitored in the recovery room for a few hours before being discharged to go home. The individual may experience some pain and discomfort at the site of the incision as well as numbness or weakness in the affected limb or limbs. However, these symptoms usually resolve within a few days to a few weeks.

With this type of back surgery, recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the surgery and the individual's overall health, but most patients are able to return to work and other activities within a few weeks. However, patients are usually advised to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activity for several weeks after their procedures. They may also need to attend physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in the affected area and increase their range of motion.

What Are the Benefits of Microdiscectomy with Foraminotomy?

There are several benefits to microdiscectomy with foraminotomy. First, it is a minimally invasive procedure, which means it is associated with less pain, scarring, and a shorter recovery time than traditional open surgery. Additionally, the success rate of the procedure is high, with most patients experiencing significant relief from their symptoms.

Another benefit of microdiscectomy with foraminotomy is that it can be performed on an outpatient basis, which means patients can usually return home the same day. This can be more convenient for those who have busy schedules or who live far from the hospital.

As with any surgical procedure, a microdiscectomy with foraminotomy does carry some risks. These include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and spinal fluid leaks. However, these risks are generally low, and most patients experience a significant reduction in their symptoms following the surgery.

Although microdiscectomy surgery is generally a very successful procedure, a hole is left in the outer wall of the disc. In fact, patients with these large holes in their discs are more than twice as likely to reinjure themselves by having what is known as a reherniation. These reherniations often require additional surgery or even fusions. Fortunately, there is a new treatment specifically designed to close the large holes that are often left in spinal discs after discectomy surgery. Barricaid is a bone-anchored device proven to reduce reherniations, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is done immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

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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