WHAT IS A DISCECTOMY?
A discectomy is the surgical removal of the whole or a part of an intervertebral disc. If the entire disc is removed, it is usually replaced with an Artificial Disc Replacement (to maintain mobility) or a spacer when a Fusion is performed.
What is a Microdiscectomy?
A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that removes part of the intervertebral disc. This is performed on the portion of a herniated disc that is compressing the nerves which causes a lot of pain. As discs degenerate, they can bulge, herniate, and lose disc height between the vertebrae. This degeneration process normally does not stop after a microdiscectomy is performed, so it’s common to experience more herniations and further collapsing of the disc. A microdiscectomy can help by relieving the pressure on the nerves, but it cannot restore the original disc height. With the loss of disc height, it’s common for the facet joints to become stressed and with this stress it can eventually develop Facet Joint Hypertrophy. To restore the original disc height and relieve pressure on the facets, surgeons can sometimes perform a full discectomy and install an Artificial Disc Replacement.