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Types of Lumbar Disk Surgery

Top view of lumbar vertebra showing posterior removal of herniated disk.
During a diskectomy, the surgeon removes part of a damaged disk.
You have a problem disk in your lower back. This disk problem may be corrected with a diskectomy. This is the surgical removal of a portion of a disk. There are 3 types of diskectomy. Each has risks and benefits. Your surgeon will recommend the type that is best for your back and your health:

  • Standard open diskectomy. An 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 is pressing on a nerve.

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

  • Percutaneous diskectomy. This is an outpatient procedure (usually doesn’t need an overnight hospital stay). The surgeon uses X-ray pictures and a video screen to help reach and fix the damaged disk.

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