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Discectomy (sometimes also called open discectomy) refers to the surgical removal of herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord. Before the disc material is removed, some of the bone from the affected vertebra may be removed first using a procedure called a laminotomy or laminectomy. This allows the surgeon to better see the area so that the herniated disc material can be easily removed.

A discectomy is recommended after magnetic resonance imaging (a MRI) of your spine confirms that a herniated disc is the source of your back pain.

During the procedure, the surgeon removes the fragments of disc material that have protruded into the spinal canal. The disc space may also be explored, and any other loose fragments of disc that could eventually press on nerves may also removed.

These procedures are generally performed in a hospital, using general anesthesia.

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