Selective Endoscopic Discectomy
A relatively new procedure, selective endoscopic discectomy is used to shrink and remove a herniated disc to relieve lower back pain and sciatica. The procedure allows the surgeon to remove only the damaged parts of the disc and then shrink the annular restraining ring of tissue using a laser or radio frequency probe. A single small incision is required and the procedure has a high rate of success with very few risks or complications, especially when compared to traditional back surgery.
What is involved in the procedure?
After giving you a local anesthetic, your surgeon will make a small incision, about ¼ inch long, so small instruments can be inserted. This includes a YESS spine endoscope. Using fluoroscopic and x-rays, the instruments are carefully guided to the disc that is causing problems. Radiofrequency or laser probes are used to remove any damaged material on the disc. The laser is then used to shrink the disc it can be decompressed further. Finally, the annular ring around the disk is shrunk using an RF electrode, which also helps reduce bleeding and shrink the annulus itself.
The entire procedure takes about ½ hour to an hour per disc. The actual time depends upon the location of the disc and the amount of damage. A small Band-Aid is used to cover the small incision so that it can heal without the need for stitches.
What can I expect from after the surgery?
Selective endoscopic discectomy has been shown to be effective in 85% to 90% of the procedures performed.
After the surgery, you should be able to resume normal activities fairly soon. Your doctor will be happy to discuss post surgical care with you, but thanks to its minimally invasive technique, you should have little to no problems becoming active again.
Like any surgery there can be complications, including bleeding, infection, scar tissue, dural tearing and injury to nerves, but these are rare. In most cases, patients have reported that their pain had been either reduced or eliminated following a selective endoscopic discectomy.
If you are interested in this procedure, your doctor at the Celebration Health Spine Center will be happy to review your options, explain the selective endoscopic discectomy procedure in greater detail and discuss whether you are a good candidate for this new procedure.