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Microdiscectomy or discectomy...any difference?

im having a diskectomy (that's how it is spelled and the brochure) S1/L5 in two weeks.  I thought they were the same but apparently not? Are they used interchangeably and  is there a stark difference in what are the pros and cons? 


  • AWMAAWM NebraskaPosts: 75
    As I understand it,  the result of each procedure is essentially the same.  Both remove portions of the damaged disc.  Where they differ is how the surgeon gains access to the disc.  In general, the microdiscectomy has a much smaller surgical incision, and equipment like cameras are used to enhance what the surgeon can see.  A discectomy would possibly have a larger incision.

    Why one may be used over the other is a question for your doctor.  I would suspect the microdiscectomy is used when possible because of the smaller incision.

    I am not a doctor.  This is just my understanding.  I have had both procedures.  The discectomy was used on me when I had multiple discs being treated (L3 - S1).  The microdiscectomy was used when I had only one level treated (L5 - S1).
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Laminectomy L3 - S1 (Due to congenital stenosis.)
    Dec. 28, 2015 - Discectomy L3-L4; L4-L5; L5-S1 (L3-L4 & L4-L5 were bulging and L5-S1 was herniated.) 
    May 20, 2016 - Selective Nerve Root Block Injection L5 Nerve Root.
    July 15, 2016 - Epidural Steroid Injection L5 & S1 Nerve Roots.
    Oct. 31, 2016 - Microdiscectomy L5 - S1
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