Types of Lumbar Disk Surgery

You have a problem disk in your lower back. This disk problem may be fixed with a diskectomy. This is the surgical removal of a part of a disk, the cushion between 2 bones of your back. There are 3 main types of diskectomy. Each has risks and benefits. Your surgeon will advise the type that's best for your back and your health:

  • Standard open diskectomy. A cut (incision) is made in the middle of the back. To see and reach the damaged disk, the surgeon then removes some or all of the lamina. Once the disk is exposed, the surgeon removes the part of the disk that's pressing on a nerve.

  • Microdiskectomy. This surgery is much like the “standard” diskectomy. But the incision is usually smaller and the surgeon uses an operating microscope or special glasses to magnify, highlight, and view the disk.

  • Percutaneous or endoscopic diskectomy. This is an outpatient procedure. This means it usually doesn’t need an overnight hospital stay. The surgeon uses X-ray pictures, a small tube with a camera (endoscope), and a video screen to help reach and fix the damaged disk.

Top view of lumbar vertebra showing posterior removal of herniated disk.
During a diskectomy, the surgeon removes part of a damaged disk.

© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
Powered by Krames Patient Education - A Product of StayWell