Interlaminar discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure involving removing exposed disc material. You could be an ideal candidate if you suffer from herniated discs that cannot be treated with conservative methods like physical therapy and medication. The procedure usually leads to less pain, shorter hospital stays, faster recovery, less blood loss, and minimal tissue damage. At LAMIS, a seasoned Los Angeles neuro-interventional facility, surgery is the last resort. We can evaluate you to develop a treatment plan to alleviate your pain and symptoms. If your symptoms fail to improve with our conventional methods, we can then recommend interlaminar discectomy.
An Overview of Interlaminar Discectomy
An interlaminar lumbar discectomy is a minimally invasive surgery procedure used to alleviate pain and discomfort on the surrounding nerves caused by a slipped or herniated disc.
Minimally invasive spine surgery methods achieve this objective by providing faster, less traumatic, shorter surgery periods, less pain during recovery, and improved results. The main aim of spinal surgery is to obtain enough decompression of neural structures while preserving the most significant structures for the spine's stability, including facet joints, ligaments, muscles, and bones.
Before your physician suggests the disc removal surgical procedure, they could offer you other conventional treatments that include the following:
- Painkillers are suitable for mild and painful back and neck problems. Your doctor can also provide you with anti-inflammatories.
- They could also recommend you try physical therapy (PT) to alleviate pain from an injured disc.
- Neuropathic medications — To relieve back discomfort by working on your nerve pulses.
If other treatments fail to work, you should receive a lumbar discectomy. You could become a discectomy candidate if numbness and pain persist. The minimally invasive surgical procedure uses a fluoroscope to lead the medical instruments during the surgery, which requires a small incision on your back.
Eligible Candidates for A Lumbar Discectomy
Many individuals who suffer from neck and back pain can be treated through conventional means. As previously mentioned, interlaminar discectomy can be an appropriate treatment option if traditional treatments fail to remedy your medical condition or the symptoms worsen.
Other Indicators that a discectomy is the right treatment option for your medical issue include the following:
- Problems with walking or standing due to the weakness of the nerves.
- Unbearable pain.
- Pain coming from your arms, legs, buttocks or chest.
During your doctor’s consultation, the medical expert could test to check the disc herniation. These medical tests could include:
- Electromyography — After electrical and nerve stimulation, the test checks your muscle's response.
- X-ray — The energy beams provide images of your internal organs and tissues on film.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — This medical procedure utilizes magnetic frequencies to make accurate images of your internal organs.
Lumbar Discectomy Surgical Procedure
The removal process of your injured spinal disc through the discectomy approach involves the following procedure:
- Anesthesia administration — You will lie down on your stomach, and the doctor will administer anesthesia after sterilizing the surgical site to avoid infection, discomfort, and pain during the surgical procedure.
- A cut on your back — The physician will make a tiny incision on the site area and guide a slim tube to find the inflamed or injured disc. The muscles on the slipped disc get shifted aside, permitting the operating equipment to reach the damaged disc.
- Removing fragments of the problematic disc — Your qualified doctor will extract the lamina and withdraw the protective shell of your nerve to extract the injured disc. If an extracted disc is fragmented, the doctor will remove the pieces and restore your muscles to their rightful place.
- Closing the cut — Finally, the physician will stitch your muscles and skin to close the surgical wound.
Pros of Interlaminar Discectomy
The benefits of interlaminar discectomy are as follows:
- Prevents big incisions.
- Reduced pain — When experiencing the pain of a slipped disc, piling on more pain through a painful surgery can be overwhelming. However, because discectomy requires only small incisions, you end up experiencing reduced pain.
- Less surgery time — Lumbar discectomy takes less time because it is a minor operation.
- Protects your muscles — Utilizing the interlaminar approach to remove injured spinal discs preserves muscle mass.
- Enhanced cosmetic results — Conventional open discectomy leaves patients with major back scars, while the tiny scars following a minimally invasive discectomy ensure better cosmetic outcomes.
- Diminished complications — Conventional spinal surgeries require long cuts to locate the injured disc and extract it. The procedure has certain risks associated with it, including possible infections and excessive bleeding during surgery. On the other hand, the minimally invasive interlaminar discectomy procedure lowers the possibility of excessive bleeding and post-surgery complications, which could hinder the recovery process.
Lumbar Discectomy Complications
Although a discectomy lowers the risk of complications, all surgical operations have associated risks. Some complications that might arise following a discectomy procedure include the following:
- Surgery failure — Sometimes, the operation might not alleviate the back pain after the initial interlaminar discectomy.
- Injury to the nerves — Pain from a damaged disc can occur if a spinal disc presses against surrounding nerves. The adjacent nerves can suffer more injury/harm during the disc’s removal. A surgeon should take precautions to prevent further damage; it can lead to increased numbness and pain.
After Surgery Care Tips
After a minimally invasive discectomy procedure, you can expect a quicker recovery. The surgical procedure is outpatient, meaning you can return home once the administered anesthesia loses its effect. Your numbness and pain could disappear in about 2 to 6 months after the surgical operation.
Your doctor will provide appropriate advice on preventing after-surgery complications and ensuring a quicker recovery. These care tips include the following:
- A follow-up appointment — You should visit your doctor for a check-up about 14 days after your minimally invasive surgical procedure. The doctor’s visit enables the surgeon to assess how you are recovering from your surgical cuts.
- Maintain the right weight — Excess weight could lead to undesirable outcomes after a discectomy. During your healing period, focus on keeping your weight in check.
- Caring for the surgical cut area — The physician will cover the cut sites with medical tape. You should avoid water contact around your surgical wound and clean the site. Do not use the body part a lot; too much movement after your wound is stitched closed can result in bleeding in your injury. It will create an internal blood clot that could hinder recovery or cause infection. Finally, do not apply greasy or ointment on your surgical site.
- Normal routine — You can resume your daily activities immediately when comfortable. Nonetheless, you should avoid lifting heavy things or engaging in vigorous sports. Depending on your occupation, you should be able to resume work in about 2 to 6 weeks.
- Take your medication as instructed — It is essential to take your painkillers and anti-inflammatories when recovering from the operation. Not complying with the doctor’s directive can result in healing complications that could affect your overall health.
- Continuing physical therapy — Following your minimally invasive surgery, your doctor will suggest a continuation of your therapy to accelerate recovery.
Lower Back Post-Surgery Exercises
Regular workouts restore stability in your lower back, and a step-by-step resumption of daily activities is crucial for a complete recovery following a lower back surgical procedure. Your surgeon and therapist can suggest that you work out for ten to thirty minutes. They could recommend the following exercises one to three times daily in your initial recovery days.
Set your spinal cord in an impartial posture while stabilizing your stomach muscles to safeguard your lower back during aerobic workouts. Common aerobic exercises worth considering include the following:
Early Workouts Program
- Lie down on your back.
- Move your ankles up and down.
- Continue for ten times.
- Lie down on your back.
- Mildly bend and straighten your knees.
- Continue for ten times.
- Lie flat on your back, knees slightly bent, and hands below your ribs.
- Tighten your stomach’s muscles to press the ribs towards the back.
- Ensure that you do not hold your breath.
- Hold your breath for five seconds, then breathe out.
- Repeat the exercise 10 times.
Wall Squats (With this exercise, you should first seek your doctor’s approval)
- Stand up with your behind resting on a wall.
- Walk your feet about 12 inches from your body.
- Maintain your abdominal muscles tightly while lightly bending your knees to 45 degrees.
- Stay in that position for about 10 seconds.
- Slowly revert to a standing position.
- Repeat the exercises ten times.
- Stand upright with your body weight equally distributed between both feet.
- Hold on a steady chair or a wall for stability.
- Gradually raise both heels above the floor.
- Remain in this posture for five seconds.
- Repeat the workout ten times.
You can also work out the following:
- A treadmill for twenty to thirty minutes.
- A stationary bicycle for twenty to thirty minutes.
After your minimally invasive surgery, you should maintain proper standing or sitting posture. Postural correction is crucial because it strengthens your lower back appropriately, protecting your recovering muscles and spinal discs.
Your therapist can guide you on proper sitting posture using a lumbar roll to keep your spinal cord in an optimal position.
Walking is a great exercise, especially following a discectomy surgery. It enhances blood flow in different body parts and helps transport nutrients and oxygen to your spine, tissues, and muscles. It also improves your cardiovascular well-being and maintains your lungs and heart functioning well after the surgical procedure.
The good news about walking following a lower back surgical procedure is that your spinal cord will be in great shape because the exercise is done while upright and safeguards your spinal discs from further issues.
Consult your physician for recommendations on walking exercises after a back procedure.
Following a discectomy, your PT can prescribe workouts to improve your abdominal muscles. The pelvic tilt is an exercise that can enhance how your abdominal muscles contract.
To engage in this exercise:
- Lie flat on your back with knees folded.
- Gradually move your pelvis backward as you straighten your back onto the floor.
- Tighten your stomach muscles while tilting the pelvis, and remain in the posture for two seconds.
- Gently loosen the pelvic tilt to revert to the initial posture.
- You could do the pelvic tilt ten to fifteen times.
Prone Straight Leg Lift
The straight leg raise workout is another helpful exercise to enhance your lower back stamina.
To engage in this exercise:
- Lie flat on your abdomen, tighten your stomach muscles, and gently raise a single leg in the air.
- Hold the lifted leg up for two seconds, and then gently bring it down.
- Repeat the procedure for ten to fifteen times.
Prone Press Ups
The prone press-ups are a simple yet effective exercise to take care of your back after minimally invasive surgery. The exercise brings together the posterior of your recovering discs and keeps them positioned in the right location within your lower back. It also enhances your capacity to bend again into lumbar extension.
To undertake the exercise:
- Lie on a mat with your face facing the floor, and put your hands flat on the mat under your shoulders.
- Maintain your hips and back relaxed, and press the upper body up using your arms while permitting your lower back to stay on the floor. You should experience light pressure in your back as you press up.
- Stay in the press-up posture for two seconds, then gently lower yourself to the prior posture.
- Repeat the workout ten to 15 times.
Find a Qualified Surgeon Near Me
Interlaminar discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that surgeons perform with the help of microsurgical techniques and diagnostic imaging. The LAMIS team is committed to helping patients find relief through nonsurgical treatment. Nevertheless, we can recommend interlaminar discectomy when less invasive treatment options fail to offer results. The surgical procedure requires a tiny incision to remove the portion of the herniated disc that is causing pain. Its recovery duration is much less than needed for traditional surgeries.
We invite you to contact our Los Angeles office at 310-734-6088 to learn how we can help you. During your visit, our team will review your medical history and assess it to determine your best treatment option.