The patient is turned on his or her abdomen and is sedated with the help of a general anesthesia. The surgeon makes a very small incision in the lower back.
Insertion of guide wire
The surgeon then inserts a guide wire in the incision until it touches the affected disc.
Insertion of dilating tubes
The surgeon then inserts a series of dilating tubes over the guide wire to push apart the muscles down to the vertebrae. Progressively larger dilators are brought down on top of one another over the guide wire. The guide wire is then removed.
Insertion of tubular retractor
A tubular retractor is then slid over the dilating tubes. Once the retractor is positioned on the bone surface, all of the dilating tubes are removed.
Removal of bone
A light and a small camera are inserted in the retractor to see through the tube. Access is gained to the spinal canal by removing bone and tissues with the help of surgical instruments.
Removal of herniated disc
The spinal nerve is gently moved away from the herniated disc with the help of a nerve retractor. The surgeon then removes the portion of the herniated disc which has been pinching the spinal nerve.
The nerve retractor is removed, and the spinal nerve comes back to its normal position. The tubular retractor is also removed, and a small bandage is applied over the wound.