The human backbone, or spine, consists of 26 bones called vertebrae. Between each vertebrae lies rubbery, cushion-like pads referred to as "disks." These disks help keep the vertebrae in place and act as shock absorbers. A herniated disk occurs when some of the soft interior slips out through a crack in the disk's wall. Most commonly, this occurs in the back, but it can also happen in the vertebrae of the neck.
A herniated disk can lead to numbness or weakness in one or more limbs. Conversely, some people experience no associated pain with a herniated disk, particularly if the disk does not press on any nerves.
Discectomy is done when conservative treatment fails to prevent further nerve compression and damage. Conservative treatments include medication such as NSAIDs, physical therapy, or rehabilitation.
The traditional open discectomy was published by Ross and Love in 1971. In traditional discectomy, a laminotomy is often involved to permit access to the intervertebral disc. In this procedure, a small piece of bone (the lamina) is removed from the affected vertebra, allowing the surgeon to better see and access the area of disc herniation.
For MIS discectomy, a small incision, which is usually less than 1 cm, is made over the location of the herniated disk. The surgeon removes a small amount of the lamina bone under microscope or endoscope which provides the view of the spinal nerve and the disk. The surgeon carefully retracts the nerve, removes the damaged disk microscopically or endoscopically.
- Infection: Antibiotics are regularly given to the patient before, during, and often after surgery to lessen the risk of infections.
- Recurrence: A recurrence of original symptoms may be caused by residual disc herniation.
- Nerve damage: It is possible that the nerves or blood vessels may be injured during these operations; rather, these complications are very rare.
- Hematoma: The formation of blood clots in the disc area to compression the nerve root and cause radiculopathy or cauda equine syndrome.
The procedure cost is about 20,000 NTD for each level averagely; prices are subject to change without prior notice, and need to pay in accordance with the actual medical expenses.