Types of Spinal Surgery: Diskectomy and Laminectomy 



Diskectomy is surgery to remove all or part of a cushion that helps protect your spinal column. These cushions, called disks, separate your spinal bones or vertebrae. 

Microdiskectomy is an operation on the lumbar spine performed with a surgical microscope and microsurgical techniques. A microdiskectomy requires only a very small incision and will remove only that portion of your ruptured disc which is pinching one or more spinal nerve roots. The recovery time for this surgery is usually less than is required for traditional lumbar surgery. 

Microdiskectomy is recommended by doctors when a ruptured disc is pinching a spinal nerve root or roots and you have: 

  • Leg pain which limits your normal daily activities 
  • Weakness in your legs or feet 
  • Numbness in your extremities 
  • Impaired bowel and/or bladder function 

Microdiskectomy is done under a spinal anesthesia or general anesthesia in which you are asleep and pain-free. Your surgeon makes a small incision on your back and moves the back muscles away from the spine. A special microscope is used to see the problem disk or disks and nerves during surgery. The nerve root is moved away, and the injured disk tissue and pieces are removed. The back muscles are put back in place, and the wound is closed with stitches or staples. The surgery takes about one-to-two hours. 


Laminectomy is surgery to remove the lamina, two small bones that make up a vertebra, or bone spurs in the back. The procedure can take pressure off your spinal nerves or spinal column, and also is done using general anesthesia. 

Your surgeon makes a larger incision on your back over the spine. Muscles and tissue are moved to expose your spine. A small part of the lamina bone is cut away. The opening may be as large as the ligament that runs along your spine. A small hole is cut in the disk that is causing your symptoms and the material is removed from inside. Other fragments of the disk also may be removed. 

If you’d like more information on minimally invasive spine surgery, or the doctors and services available at Scottsdale Healthcare Neurosciences Program, please call 480-882-4000, or visit Neurosciences.