Microdiscectomy (also known as discectomy) treats a herniated disc. The pain from the herniated disc happens when disc material presses on a nerve root, or on the spinal cord. The procedure often results in quick relief of pain, including pain associated with sciatica. The treatment is only recommended after more conservative measures were not able to fully treat the pain.
In the procedure, a small incision (less than an inch long) is made in the back at the disc being treated. A small tube is placed to preserve the muscles, tendons and ligaments, and a small window is created in the bone. The nerves are moved to the side and the piece of disc material compressing the nerve is removed. The remaining majority of the disc is left intact.