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What is a Microdiscectomy?

A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that commonly involves the removal of bulging or herniated disc material. Just as any structure will develop signs of aging over years of use, the spine—a major weight bearer and shock absorber—is particularly susceptible to wear and tear. Back pain and neck discomfort are common side effects of this wear and tear and many adults will experience some form of back pain in their lifetime. However, when this pain becomes debilitating, or is coupled with shooting pain down into the limbs, a more serious condition of the spine may be present.

The vertebrae of the spine are each cushioned from one other by a supportive disc of cartilage. Known as “intervertebral discs,” these structures act as shock absorbers and lubricators which permit the spine to twist, bend, and arch fluidly and facilitate the numerous activities of our daily lives. These discs are structured much like a jelly donut, with a rubbery outside (the annulus fibrosis) and a gel-filled pocket on the inside (the nucleus pulposus).

As a common complication of aging, our intervertebral discs can dry out, breaking down or even shifting out of place. Other factors that can cause disc deterioration include: chronic stress on the spine (associated with certain professions or sports, for example), acute injury to the spine, degenerative disc disease, certain forms of arthritis, and even spinal tumors. Any of these causes can lead to either disc bulging or herniation (rupture). Bulging refers to the protrusion of the rubbery outside of the disc from between the vertebrae and herniation of a disc occurs when the gel-like center of the disc leaks out into adjacent tissues.

Bulging or herniation can lead to vertebral compaction, compression of the spinal nerves, and sometimes even compression of the spinal cord itself, resulting in a variety of painful or distressing symptoms. When spinal nerves are compressed it can lead to localized pain, radiating pain down the legs or out through the arms, and sciatica. Numbing, tingling, or a “pins-and-needles” feeling is often reported as well. Muscular weakness or a tight feeling in the back can occur, and sometimes even more serious symptoms such as loss of bowel and bladder control can appear. When more conservative treatments are unsuccessful in dealing with these serious symptoms, then a surgical procedure may be necessary to address your symptoms. A Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy is just one of the possible procedures that can be used to alleviate your pain.


A Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy involves removal of the bulging or herniated disc material that is causing your pain and discomfort. During this procedure, your surgeon will make small incisions on the back and use specialized instruments like a magnifying microscope or tiny tools to bypass muscles and access the affected area of the spine. Removing part of the lamina, or the bony structure on backside of a vertebra, the surgeon will then access the damaged disc and remove the portion that is causing nerve compression and painful symptoms.

Our team at NYC Spine has years of training and experience in dealing with the common condition of bulging and herniated discs. As soon as you walk through our door, you will sense the resounding culture of compassionate, individualized care. If you need support or treatment to alleviate your distressing back pain, call us today to receive the care that you deserve.

Can a Microdiscectomy help me?

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What are the Benefits of a Microdiscectomy?

The advent of minimally invasive procedures, like microdiscectomies, has completely changed the world of spine surgery. What once took many hours of surgery to execute, days spent in the hospital, and months to fully heal, can now be accomplished in a fraction of the time. A microdiscectomy is one of many surgical options for a herniated disc that offers the following benefits:

  • Small Incision Sizes: The art of less—using only a 1 to 2-inch incision size means that there is less pain, less blood, less scarring, less damage, and a shorter healing time.
  • Less Trauma: Using specialized instruments and a microscope, your surgeon can navigate around (instead of cutting through) the muscles and tissues that support your spine.
  • Shorter Hospital Stays: Most of the time, a microdiscectomy can be performed as a same day procedure, allowing patients to return to the comfort of their home within hours after surgery.
  • Faster Recovery: Because incisions sizes are reduced and the body suffers less trauma as a result, it also takes less time for the body to heal and resume its regular activities.

Dr. Frazier has devoted over 20 years to perfecting the nuances of minimally invasive surgical procedures. This devotion has secured his status as a world-renowned spine surgeon who is well-versed in the full spectrum of surgical and non-surgical treatments for spinal disorders. If you are worried that you may have a bulging or herniated disc, call Dr. Frazier today to explore your minimally invasive options for pain relief!

How do I know if I need a Microdiscectomy?

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Do I Qualify for a Microdiscectomy?

One of the main qualifiers for a Minimally Invasive Microdiscectomy is the experience of debilitating pain that is associated with a bulging or herniated disc. If you are suffering from a bulging or herniated disc that is causing incapacitating sciatica, radiating pain, numbness, tingling, or more severe symptoms, then a minimally invasive microdiscectomy may be able to relieve your symptoms.

There are a few situations that may disqualify an individual from receiving a microdiscectomy, however. Individuals with allergies to surgical materials or medications used during the procedure; those who have had a failed microdiscectomy in the past; or individuals who have conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, may not be suitable candidates for this procedure.

Don’t let the painful symptoms of a bulging or herniated disc keep you from living your life any longer.

If you have exhausted all other treatment options, including pain management and physical therapy, then contact NYC Spine today to ask about your surgical treatment options. With over 20 years of surgical experience, Dr. Frazier is here to help you redefine your recovery process!

Am I a candidate for a Microdiscectomy?

Determine your eligibility for conservative & minimally invasive treatments.

Dr. Frazier is a Harvard-trained, board certified orthopedic spine surgeon. He’s held an academic appointment at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and New York’s SUNY Downstate. Dr. Frazier is also a respected lecturer, accomplished researcher, published author on spine disorders and treatment, and a consultant for several international spine companies.

After completing his undergraduate education at Brown University, Dr. Frazier attended Harvard Medical School, where he graduated cum laude. He completed a Harvard internship based at the New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston, MA, followed by a Harvard combined residency before becoming chief resident at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Education & Training

  • MD / Cum Laude

    Harvard Medical School

  • Chief Resident

    Mass. General Hospital

  • Lecturer

    Columbia University

  • Spinal Deformity Fellowship

    Doctor’s Hospital (Miami, FL)