What is an Endoscopic Discectomy?
Endoscopic discectomy is a minimally invasive spine surgery performed to treat disc problems that cause back and leg pain. A unique feature of this technique is the technology used to access the spine; through a keyhole (8mm) incision, surgery is performed using a specialized WOLF endoscope.
A WOLF endoscope is a specialized, german engineered, device with a tiny camera at the end. The endoscope delivers the surgeon an excellent view of the disc and related structures through this tiny incision. This enhanced view allows the surgeon to select the part of the disc to be removed that is causing your pain.
Instead of cutting through tissues (eg, muscles, ligaments) to access the spine, a dilator will gently separate soft tissue and are graduated in size to enlarge the operative field.
What are some of the benefits of Endoscopic Discectomy?
Some of the benefits of a true, minimally invasive, WOLF endoscopic discectomy include:
- Tiny incision
- Less tissue disruption
- Less blood loss
- Less post-operative pain
- Accelerated recovery
- Same Day Surgery
- Can be performed under light sedation (minimizing anesthesia risk)
What conditions can Endoscopic Discectomy help with?
(DDD), disc herniation, and disc bulge are examples of disc-related problems that may compress or pinch spinal nerves and cause low back, buttock and leg pain. Other neurologic symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and weakness in one or both legs. The goal of endoscopic discectomy is to decompress the nerves, relieve symptoms, and enable the patient to quickly return to regular activities of daily living.
Not every patient with DDD or disc problem requires spine surgery. Dr. Kountis may recommend endoscopic discectomy for the following reasons:
- Non-operative treatment fails to relieve symptoms
- Progressive worsening of neurologic symptoms or pain, and/or neurological problems
- Numbness, loss of function, and weakness (signs of neurologic dysfunction)
How is Endoscopic Discectomy performed?
Endoscopic discectomy is performed under local and/or intravenous anesthesia; the patient is awake during the surgery. The back area is cleansed and prepared for surgery. A small needle is inserted into the disc guided by fluoroscopy; a type of x-ray used during surgery. A tiny skin incision is made and the dilation tube is slipped into place followed by the endoscope.
Special miniature-sized instruments (eg, forceps, rongeurs) are advanced through the endoscope. A YAG laser may be utilized to remove only the damaged disc part and to bind the disc wall (annulus fibrosus). The laser also reduces (shrinks) the size of the disc to decompress nerve roots. The procedure takes about 30-minutes to one-hour per disc. The incision is closed with one suture and a small bandage.