Discectomy simply means removal of protruding disc rather than the whole disc. The debris on the slip road causing the obstruction to the motorway is removed for the traffic to flow (Understand Spinal Motorway). The procedure itself is done under general anaesthesia and requires an overnight stay in the hospital.
The majority of the Surgeons in UK perform this procedure via a mini open technique from the back of your spine. There are various names to this procedure, such as microdiscectomy (If microscope is used), Tubular Discectomy (If tubes are used). Newer technology has now allowed us to perform these procedures through Keyhole. It is performed via a less than 1 cm wound using cutting edge optical minimally invasive techniques.The ultimate goal of all of these procedures is simply to decompress the pinched nerve at the slip road.
Post-operatively, early mobilisation and rehabilitation is important, and you will be advised on physiotherapy exercises. I advise patient to take a few general precautions, such as not lifting heavy objects especially while bending forward, and not to sit down for a prolonged period of time. Regarding walking, I would suggest not to go for long walks in the first two weeks in order to avoid sweat collection around the wound. Thereafter, gradually increase your walking distance and activity under the guidance of your physiotherapist.