Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery

Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery

Herniated Disc Surgery

Traditionally, herniated discs could only be treated through an open approach, commonly known as ‘traditional open back surgery”. This means that the area of your back being operated on is opened with a long incision to allow surgeons a more comprehensive view and access to your spinal column. There are greater risks involved and typically a longer recovery period before return to daily activities.

However, advances and discoveries in the field of medicine have allowed for conditions to be treated with minimally invasive procedures.  Open procedures require larger incisions, muscle stripping, more anesthesia, operating time, hospitalization and the patient usually has a longer recovery time, while minimally invasive surgical procedures utilize portals or tiny incisions made in the skin (percutaneous) through which small, specialized instruments are inserted allowing for some of the risks of traditional back surgery to be alleviated. Benefits of minimally invasive treatments will be detailed later.

Aside from herniated discs, several spinal conditions can be treated with minimally invasive procedures; these include Degenerative Scoliosis, Spinal Trauma, Spinal Malignancies, Spondylolisthesis, and Spinal Stenosis, to name a few.

What is Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery?

Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery or MIHDS uses cutting-edge technology to treat herniated disc problems caused by various conditions. As the term “Minimally Invasive Surgery” suggests, thes surgical procedures aim for ‘minimal’ or less invasion of the body. Instead of creating a large surgical opening in your back to repair the herniated disc, the surgeons use specialized instruments and viewing systems to work through the procedure with only small incisions. Below are a few of the procedures to treat herniated discs:

  • Discectomy or Microdiscectomy

Discectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove bone spurs and herniated discs that are compressing nerves. It is usually done as microdiscectomy, which involves the use of a special microscope to view the affected vertebrae, disc, and nerves.

A small incision is created on one side of your back. Then, a special microscope is passed through the opening to the affected spine. Through the created tunnel, the surgeon removes the herniated disc, decompressing the pinched nerve to relieve inflammation and pain.

Discectomy usually provides quicker pain relief than non-surgical conservative treatment. Good candidates for this type of procedure are those who suffer from prolonged symptoms that are severe enough to interfere with normal everyday activities and work and require strong pain medications for relief.

  • Laminectomy or Microlaminectomy

Laminectomy and laminotomy are surgical procedures performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves by removing the lamina, thus why the procedures are known as types of decompression surgery. The lamina is the thin part of the spine which protects the spinal cord, and it’s often called the “roof” of the spine.

Laminectomy is the removal of all the lamina of the affected portion of the vertebrae. It may also involve the removal of thickened ligaments that cause spinal nerve compression. Laminotomy, on the other hand, is the removal of a small part of the lamina.

The choice between laminectomy or laminotomy depends on the location of the affected disc and the severity of the condition. With the lamina gone, the surgeon can remove any portions of a herniated disc that are causing your pain. Any bone spurs causing nerve compression will also be addressed at this time.

If you are a candidate for the minimally invasive procedure, you may undergo a microlaminectomy which achienves the same goal of the traditional laminectomy with the benefits of minimally invasive surgery.

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What are the most Common Types of Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery?

There are various minimally invasive techniques for herniated discs. The common characteristics between all of them are that they can be performed as an outpatient procedure and may utilize only local anesthesia — which is yet another benefit because there is less risk for any adverse reaction to general anesthesia.

Who can have Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery?

First of all, surgery is not for everyone. Your attending physician or surgeon may suggest surgery only after discussing and trying other conservative, non-operative treatment options.

Before considering surgical interventions, many factors are also considered including your age, diagnosis, causative factors, the location of the herniated disc, and overall health.

What are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery?

One of the greatest benefits of undergoing a minimally invasive procedure is having smaller incisions and less trauma in the back muscles or the affected area. In addition to that, minimally invasive surgery for herniated disc allows for:

  • Reduced blood loss during operation
  • Less post-operative pain
  • Shorter time under anesthesia
  • Reduced need for pain medications post-surgery
  • Decreased risk for infection on the operative site
  • Less injury to healthy tissues
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Faster recovery time
  • Rapid return to normal activity, typically weeks, as compared to months

Are there Risks to Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery?

As with any surgical intervention, no matter how minimal or what area is affected, there are certain risks involved. These risks may include (but are not limited to):

  • Localized infections
  • Unexpected blood loss
  • Adverse reaction to the local anesthetic used

Although these risks are uncommon, there is always a chance that they can occur. That is why it is crucial for you to divulge a complete history about your health condition such as allergies, history of blood or immune disorders, and other related info to your healthcare provider.

Need to know more about Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery?

If you have more questions or want to know more about this minimally invasive treatments for herniated discs, please don’t hesitate to contact Saint Camillus Medical Center at 817-519-3700 or


  • Rasouli MR, Rahimi-Movaghar V, Shokraneh F, Moradi-Lakeh M, Chou R. “Minimally invasive discectomy versus microdiscectomy/open discectomy for symptomatic lumbar disc herniation.”Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014;9:CD010328. Web. <>.
  • “Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery – How Does It Work?” American Association of Neurological Surgeons. <>.
  • “Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery – OrthoInfo – AAOS.” OrthoInfo Treatment. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Web. <>.
  • “FAQ About Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery | Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.” Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery |. Web. <>.
  • “Surgery Options for a Herniated Disc.” Back Pain, Neck Pain, Lower Back Pain | Spine-Health. Web. <>.


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