Lumbar endoscopic discectomy is performed through a 5-8 mm incision in the skin. Through the incision, a cannula is inserted until reaching the vertebral disc through the neural foramen (in the case of foraminal or extraforaminal hernias) or the interlaminar space (posterolateral or medial hernias), depending on the location of the hernia to be treated.
Through this same cannula, first the optical camera that allows the surgeon to view the enlarged field of work on a screen is introduced, and then, the instruments that will be used to extract the herniated disc tissue and decompress the nerve. The delicate internal tissues are constantly irrigated through the cannula throughout the surgery, which makes it possible to control or stop bleeding and dissection of the structures.
Several studies have shown that endoscopic spine surgery has the following advantages when compared to conventional surgery:
- Less postoperative pain thanks to the lesser manipulation of tissues.
- Less blood loss.
- Lower risk of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistula.
- Causes no instability, as in many cases it is not necessary to remove any bone to reach the hernia.
- Procedure is performed under local anesthesia and sedation, eliminating risks associated with general anesthesia.
- Enables a swift return to work.