Endoscopic Discectomy has steadily evolved over the past 20 years. As the name implies this involves removing a small amount of disc material, sometimes a little bit of bone and soft tissue, using a small camera or endoscope. You’re probably familiar with colonoscopies which uses a similar type of camera optic system for removing polyps in the colon or knee arthroscopy.
Endoscopic Discectomy has several unique advantages.
One of the main advantages is in the right patient and condition, the entire procedure can be done through a very small less than 1/4 inch incision.
Advances in optics have allowed the surgeon to visualize nerves blood vessels and other pertinent structures with incredible clarity.
In fact, in some occasions, advanced surgery is performed including placement of hardware.
The positioning for an endoscopic discectomy is similar to other injections of the spine.
The patient is positioned facedown and given a light anesthetic so that they are made comfortable. Because the procedure is in such a localized minimal fashion, the anesthesiologist is able to keep the patient comfortable without resorting to a general anesthesia, endotracheal intubation, and muscle relaxants.
Once the endoscope is advanced and positioned the surgeon is able to see the structures and fine detail on a large high-resolution 4K screen.
Gentle manipulation and using an assortment of different probes, cautery, graspers, some times laser, the surgeon is able to manipulate and remove the offending tissue.
Recovery is rapid with patients often feeling an improvement on the same day.
The dressing is often removed in a week and there are no stitches to remove.