Endoscopic discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure carried out on an outpatient basis (patient can return home the same day). It is usually performed on patients in whom chronic back pain is caused by herniated intervertebral discs. Back pain can manifest in ranges from poor sensitivity in the limb, to full immobility of it. These patients frequently do not benefit from periradicular therapy (PRT) in the long-term, and their MRI findings remain abnormal even after conventional intervention.
Under x-ray guidance, a special needle is introduced through the natural anatomical opening of the spine to create a working channel (most often laterally through the intervertebral foramen), and the endoscope and instruments are then introduced. The endoscope allows visualization of the herniated disc and its effect on the nerve root. The damaged portion of the disc is then removed, and a laser or radiofrequency probe is used to seal the damaged area. The aim is to reduce the risk of recurrence or prolapse and to eliminate pathological neural structures inside and outside of the disc which cause pain.
The duration of surgery varies from 40-90 minutes. During surgery is done under the general or local anaesthesia. Unlike in classical surgeries, there is minimal damage to the bone and muscle. A further advantage to this technique is also a quicker recovery and return to an active life.