Risk of Infection Following a Microscopic Discectomy

Infection is a risk with almost any medical procedures. Even very 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 given the short amount of time that the patient has an open

Oftentimes, the spinal surgeon would use an endoscopic approach to performing the discectomy procedure. In an endoscopic approach, 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 postoperative pain.

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 occurring incredibly small.

Reducing Risk of Infection

After leaving the hospital, the patient typically will need to take any medications that have been prescribed for the postoperative pain and recovery. This is important for the patient so they can deal with the pain that immediately follows surgery. The most important steps following a microscopic discectomy are to rest, take it easy, and manage the postoperative pain that exists from the surgery.

Some of the challenges a person might face in regards to postoperative care are feeling better and pushing the limits too early, or having issues with wound site infections. Wound site infections are fairly uncommon because the infection rate is very low for this type of surgery.

Having a good plan in place and following that plan is very effective in confronting and handling these challenges. The surgeon will try to counsel patients before the surgery to let them know what to expect following the microscopic discectomy. A person will be in an advantageous position if they listen to the instructions that are given upfront and accommodate them appropriately. This includes having somebody available to help you, taking care of children and pets, and do any rigorous chores around the house, as well as being prepared to contact your surgeon the moment you may 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. Our Tampa Bay spine surgeons do not require you get an appointment because an infection is considered a very 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.