Spine Surgery


Keyhole Discectomy

Keyhole Discectomy

What is a discectomy?

  • It is a surgical procedure that is used to treat a slipped disc that is causing leg pain, numbness, weakness etc. that has not resolved with non-operative treatment
  • The aim of the procedure is to relieve the compression of the pinched nerve
  • Only the herniated part of the disc is removed, leaving behind the normal tissue
  • It is also used to treat cauda equina syndrome
Keyhole Discectomy

What are the various techniques that can be used?

  • The traditional technique is a microdiscectomy and it is considered the gold standard
  • There is also keyhole procedure also called MIS discectomy or tubular discectomy which is currently the most accepted technique
  • Endoscopic discectomy is relatively new and is done with specialised instruments
Keyhole Discectomy
Keyhole Discectomy

How is keyhole discectomy done?

  • The principles are similar to microdiscectomy
  • The difference is that dilators are used to separate the muscle and to rec the bone
  • The rest of the procedure is then done through a special tubular retractor
  • The incision is smaller compared to a microdiscectomy and there is less muscle trauma
Keyhole Discectomy

What is endoscopic discectomy?

  • It is a newer procedure that is done through a small camera that is inserted through the skin under Xray control to the targeted disc area
  • The slipped disc is cleared using specialised instruments
  • It is the least invasive of the techniques, but requires special instruments and a surgeon trained in the procedure
Keyhole Discectomy
Keyhole Discectomy
Keyhole Discectomy

What is the success rate of the procedure?

  • The procedure has a success rate of more than 90% with almost all patients improving
  • The pain relief is almost immediate
  • Most patients are able to go home the same day or the day after the procedure
Keyhole Discectomy

Are there any risks associated?

  • Like any surgery, there is risk of complication such as anaesthetic reaction, infection, DVT/PE etc
  • More specifically, there is risk of incomplete relief and a risk of recurrent slipped disc
  • Your surgeon should be able to guide you through the risks specific to you


Keyhole Disectomy