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Endoscopic Lumbar Discectomy

Watch this Video to understand the benefits of Endoscopic Spine Surgery vs Open Spine Surgery

Watch this Video to understand the details of Endoscopic Discectomy 

Endoscopic Discectomy is a minimally invasive, out-patient procedure to remove a portion of a damaged spinal disc. 

Using X-ray guidance (fluoroscopy) and a small metal tube, the size of a pencil, is inserted through the skin in to the spinal column. This serves as a passage for an endoscopic camera that allows the doctor live visualization of the damaged disc. With this access, portions of the disc can then be removed alleviating any pressure or pinching of nerves the disc may have caused.

You may be a candidate for discectomy if your symptoms include pain, numbness, or weakness of the back and/or legs which have been confirmed by an MRI or CT that shows a disc or ligaments pinching your nerves.


Endoscopic Discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure with very little blood loss, tissue damage or scar formation. It has a recovery period that is variable depending on the extent of tissue removal that needs to be done. Expect to be sore in the back and or the legs for 1-2 weeks and then to have limitations the doctor will require of you for a month (see instructions below). This is a disc operation thus pain will occur, please plan accordingly to expect this and also have thing organized in your house to make the painful time easier for you.

Discectomy is generally a safe procedure yet, as with any interventional procedure, it carries a small risk of potential complications such as bleeding, infection, spinal headache, and injury to blood vessels or nerves around the spine.

Please understand this is a surgery and soreness from healing is normal, even for weeks after the surgery. 


Endoscopic Discectomy - Post Operative Instructions


Incision Care: If there is a dressing, you may remove it on the morning after surgery BEFORE you shower. If surgical glue is used expect it will slowly peel off within 14 days. Please call us with any changes or concerns such as:

  • redness

  • swelling or drainage at incision site

  • temperature greater than 101°

  • Clear liquid drainage in the first 24 hours is normal.

Bathing: You may shower the morning or afternoon after surgery after the dressing is removed; avoid scrubbing the incision site for the first 5 days. No baths or swimming until approved by the physician or physician assistant at your follow up appointment.

Restrictions: For the first week, no sitting upright more than 10 minutes per hour. To be clear, you can stand or lay down for the first 7 days. A recliner is fine to sit in, even sit upright in a recliner is fine immediately after the surgery. 


For 1 month after surgery:

  • No leaning over (use a stick grabber if needed)

  • No strenuous activity

  • No lifting greater than 10lbs


Exercise: Increase your light activity each day, such as walking, as tolerated.


Driving: You may drive 14 days after the procedure if you feel okay to do so. Do not drive if you are taking pain medications.


Diet: Eat a healthy diet to promote healing.


Smoking: Avoid smoking. Smoking decreases the rate of bone and skin healing and also interferes with the effectiveness of pain medication.


Follow-Up: Your doctor may have ordered a brace for you to wear. This is to be worn when up and walking. It is not needed when sitting, laying, nor sleeping. You will have a post-operative appointment approximately 2 weeks after surgery.

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