A minimally invasive cervical discectomy is the removal of the portion of the disc that has herniated, causing compression on the nerve. The surgery usually only requires an incision less than half an inch long. Several celebrities have gone through this kind of procedure including actress Charlize Theron. Theron fell on the set of the 2005 flick “Aeon Flux” and had a microdiscectomy in 2013. Read more about her experience here.

Northshore spine surgeon, Dr. Samer Shamieh, compares the discs in the spine to a jelly doughnut. If the disc gets squeezed, it can cause pressure on the nerve roots surrounding it and cause numbness or weakness in the area around it.


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An incision less than half an inch long is made.


Muscles are dilated and spread­—not cut—to give the surgeon access to the spine.


The surgeon cuts a small opening through the lamina bone on the back of the spinal column to locate the affected disc.

Disc Removal

Parts of the herniated disc are removed.

Muscles Returned

Muscles are returned to their normal position.


A band-aid covers the small incision on the back.

Your doctor may recommend laminectomy when you have spinal cord compression with symptoms of myelopathy or spinal stenosis. Myelopathy is impaired function of the spinal cord. Symptoms include weakness, pain, numbness, clumsiness, poor balance, difficulty walking, and stiffness in the extremities. The goal of laminectomy is to relieve spinal pressure to stop myelopathy progression and allow healing.

Benefits of Microdiscectomy

• Smaller incisions
• Faster, non-complicated healing
• Less blood loss
• Less pain
• Quicker rehabilitation


Microdiscectomy is considered to have relatively high rates of success, especially in relieving leg pain. Patients are usually able to return to a normal level of activity fairly quickly. With only a short course of pain medication after the surgery and a short course of physical therapy, patients can usually resume normal activities in 2-3 weeks.


Learn More about our Minimally Invasive Techniques

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DISC of Louisiana offers spinal procedures using minimally invasive techniques. It means smaller incisions, sometimes less than an inch, that is often covered with a band-aid. The minimally invasive spine surgeon inserts special surgical instruments through the tiny incisions to access the damaged disc. Unlike traditional “open” spine surgery, entry and repair to the damaged disc or vertebrae is achieved without harming nearby muscles and tissues. Less muscle and tissue damage results in less pain and a faster recovery. Click here to learn more.


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