Minimally Invasive Discectomy | Tampa General Hospital

Minimally Invasive Discectomy

A minimally invasive discectomy is a procedure that removes a damaged spinal disc through a small incision in the back. Tampa General Hospital’s Neuroscience Institute is home to experienced spine surgeons who routinely perform discectomies and utilize minimally invasive robotic techniques to achieve world-class outcomes for patients with as little risk and downtime as possible. Currently, no hospital in Florida performs more complex spinal surgeries than TGH.

What Does a Discectomy Treat?

Discectomy surgery is a treatment option for a herniated disc—a problem in which one of the rubbery, cushioning discs that sit in between each spinal bone ruptures. In some cases, the disc’s jelly-like center can push into the spinal canal and compress surrounding nerves, triggering uncomfortable symptoms like:

  • Radiating pain in the back, arms or legs
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling sensations

Many people with herniated discs can find relief through conservative treatments like physical therapy and medication. However, if symptoms persist or become debilitating, discectomy surgery may be recommended.

What Happens During a Minimally Invasive Discectomy?

Unlike traditional open spine surgery that requires a large incision, a minimally invasive discectomy is performed through one small incision in the neck or back. General or local anesthesia may be used to prevent discomfort.

During the discectomy, the surgeon carefully separates the muscles to reach the herniated disc. A tubular retractor is inserted to create a portal through which the procedure can be performed. Small, special instruments are then used—including a tool with a camera and light—to carefully remove the damaged portion of the disc and relieve nerve compression.

What Can I Expect?

A minimally invasive discectomy surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis and takes about one hour to complete. It offers several benefits to patients when compared to open spine surgery, including: 

  • Less disruption to surrounding tissues
  • A lower risk of surgical complications
  • Less post-operative pain
  • A shorter recovery period

The recovery process will vary based on the patient’s age, overall health and the severity of the herniated disc, but most people can return to normal activities in three to six weeks.

Become a TGH Patient

Ranked in the top 10% of hospitals nationwide for Neurology and Neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report in 2023-24, Tampa General Hospital’s Neuroscience Institute is a premier destination for minimally invasive spine surgeries like discectomies. We encourage you to contact the Neuroscience Institute at (800) 822-3627 to schedule an appointment and learn more about our progressive approach to herniated disks and back pain treatment.