Lumbar discectomy is a surgical procedure to remove part of a problem disc in the low back. The discs are the pads that separate the vertebrae. This procedure is commonly used when a herniated, or ruptured, disc in the low back is putting pressure on a nerve root.

Surgeons perform lumbar discectomy surgery through an incision in the low back. This area is known as the posterior region of the low back. The main structure involved is the intervertebral disc, which acts as a cushion between each pair of vertebrae. The two main parts of the disc are the annulus and the nucleus.  The lamina bone forms the protective covering over the back of the spinal cord. During surgery, this section of bone is removed over the problem disc. The surgeon also checks the spinal nerves where they travel from the spinal canal through the neural foramina. The neural foramina are small openings on each side of the vertebra. Nerves that leave the spine go through the foramina, one on the left and one on the right.

Lumbar discectomy can alleviate symptoms from a herniated disc in the low back. The main goal of discectomy surgery is to remove the part of the disc that is putting pressure on a spinal nerve root. Taking out the injured portion of the disc also reduces chances that the disc will herniate again.

These goals can be achieved using a traditional procedure, called laminotomy and discectomy, or with a newer method called microdiscectomy. The traditional method requires a larger incision and tends to require a longer time to heal.

Microdiscectomy is becoming the standard surgery for Lumbar Disc Herniation. Since the surgeon performs the operation with a surgical microscope, he or she needs to make only a very small incision in the low back. Categorized as minimally invasive surgery, this surgery is thought to be less taxing on patients. Advocates also believe that this type of surgery is easier to perform, prevents scarring around the nerves and joints, and helps patients recover more quickly.

At McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin our attorneys engage in proving workers comp lumbar discectomy surgery is work-related.  Job duties involving repetitive bending, lifting and twisting at the waist, can be proof of a lumbar or low back work-related condition.  A thorough job description is necessary to determine the work-relatedness of a neck or low back condition from job duties over time.  The longer a worker performs the physical job duties, the more likely a doctor will give an opinion that the condition is in part caused from the job duties.  A single, traumatic injury can cause a work-related herniated disc requiring lumbar discectomy.