Risk of Infection Following a Microscopic Discectomy

Infection is a risk with almost any medical procedure. Even rudimentary procedures, such as getting an immunization or a spinal injection, carry a risk of infection. However, with microscopic discectomies, there is a low risk of infection.

In an endoscopic approach like microscopic discectomy, a very small incision is made and the surgeon uses a camera to visualize the structures. It is not as disruptive to the patient’s anatomy and therefore, it is a benefit to the patient for their recovery time and post-operative pain. It also reduces the risk of infection.

Endoscopic procedures are done under full irrigation, almost in the same way that an arthroscopic surgery is performed. Because the incision is irrigated with water, it controls the bleeding and makes the likelihood of an infection incredibly small.

Reducing Risk of Infection

After leaving the hospital, patients typically need to take prescribed medications for the postoperative pain and recovery. The most important steps following a microscopic discectomy are to rest, take it easy, and take medications to manage the postoperative pain resulting from the surgery.

Ironically, one challenge patients face in postoperative care involves feeling better and pushing the limits too earl. Another is wound site infections, but they are uncommon because the infection rate is exceptionally low for this type of surgery.

Having a good plan in place helps confront and manage these challenges. The surgeon will counsel you before the surgery so you know what to expect following the microscopic discectomy. Listen carefully to the instructions you receive so you can plan appropriately. This includes having somebody available to help you with your limitations, take care of children and pets, and do any rigorous chores around the house. Your helper should also be prepared to contact your surgeon the moment you suspect an infection.

In Case of Infection

For any type of leakage, change in color of the site wound, change in pain level, or if the site becomes hot, the safest thing to do is to come into the office immediately. You don’t even need an appointment because an infection is considered a serious issue that doctors would want to diagnose as soon as possible.

If there is any evidence of infection, our doctors would immediately send the patient to the emergency room and schedule some kind of revision or minor procedure to clean the infection.

Accepting Help

An important step of recovery following a microscopic discectomy is to accept help from those who offer. It is best to have a person by your side for the first three to seven days that can assist in your daily routine. Simple tasks that people take for granted, such as grooming or getting dressed, can be exceptionally difficult following any lower back surgery due to the strain and effort that you may not realize go into completing them. The greater the strain on a person’s back the greater a risk for an infection following a microscopic discectomy. By the end of the first week, patients are usually able to care for themselves well enough without additional assistance needed.