The patient is given general anesthesia. The surgeon then makes two small incisions in the side of the patient. These incisions are very small as compared to the traditional incisions made for some other spinal surgery procedures.
Insertion of Probe
The surgeon inserts a probe in one of the incisions. The probe stimulates and detects the nerves around the spine and helps the surgeon to avoid the nerves and to leave them undamaged. The surgeon uses the second incision to help guide the surgical instruments.
Insertion of Dilation Tubes
When the probe reaches at the proper position, the surgeon inserts a series of dilation tubes over the probe. This helps to create a larger opening.
Insertion of Retraction Device
The surgeon then inserts a retraction device over the dilation tubes. This device helps to move aside the muscle tissues and to provide access to the spine.
Removal of Disc
The surgeon operates through the channel created by the retractor device and removes the damaged disc.
The surgeon then places an implant filled with bone graft in the empty disc space. The implant realigns the vertebral bones and lifts pressure from the pinched spinal nerves. The bone graft will grow and form a fusion to connect the vertebral bodies.
The retractor device is removed and the incisions are closed. The wounds are cleaned and medical bandage is applied.