Micro-Lumbar Discectomy

The intervertebral disc is the structure between each vertebra. It serves as shock absorber and provides agile spine movement. Deterioration or injury of the intervertebral disc may cause herniated disc, causing back pain, sciatica, muscle weakness, and numbness. In very severe cases, it may cause bladder or bowel incontinence. 

2 main treatment options for herniated disc, depending on its severity 

  • Non-surgical treatment: Often used in patients with mild symptoms. Non-surgical treatment includes painkillers, muscle relaxants, physical therapy or steroid injections. 
  • Surgical treatment: Often used in patients with severe symptoms or in cases where non-surgical treatments are ineffective. The protruding part of intervertebral disc is removed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves. 

Micro-Lumbar discectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that uses a three-dimensional arthroscope to look inside the surgical site. This lessens the possibility of damage to adjacent tissue and nerves by enabling the surgeon to see the surgical site more clearly. Due to small incision, the patients do not experience much pain and need shorter recover period. 

Preparation before surgery 

For the purposes of symptom assessment and surgery planning, patients must undergo additional physical examinations such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging prior to surgery. This is to ensure patients’ readiness for surgery. 

Surgical Procedure 

Micro-Lumbar discectomy takes about 1-2 hours. During the surgery, a surgeon makes an incision only about 2-3 centimeters in the back. An arthroscope and small instruments are then inserted into the surgical site in order to scrape and remove the protruding part of intervertebral disc. 

Postoperative Self-Care 

After surgery, the patient needs to stay in the hospital for approximately 1-2 days to recover. The doctor will schedule check-ups and follow-ups with patient periodically.  

Potential Postoperative Complications 

Potential complication following micro-lumbar discectomy is back pain which can be relieved with painkillers. However, This complication extremely uncommon. 


  • Small incision with shorter recovery period 
  • Clear vision of surgical area lessens the possibility of damage to the adjacent tissue and nerves  
  • Better results, allowing most patients to resume their normal lives 


  • Higher cost compared to open surgery with a large incision 
  • Requires an arthroscope and a surgeon with expertise in minimally invasive procedures

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From Bangkok Hospital Phuket