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OLM (Open Lumbar Assisted Micro discectomy)

This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure using a microscope assisted by laser. A very small incision (1.5-2 cm) on the back, through which the diseased level will be accessible while preserving as much tissues as possible. This procedure involves decompression of the nerve roots and spinal cord using the laser, where any portions of the disc, ligaments or bone creating the problem are removed. This surgery takes approximately 60 – 90 minutes and you will be discharged the next day. Physiotherapy can be started by 10th day after surgery. You will need lumbar brace for during all activities for the next month. You will fully recover in a month of time.

Surgical technique

After 1.5cm -2cm incision, the surgeon partially removes the posterior vertebral structure with high speed diamond drill and observes the surgical field as much as 10-15times magnification under microscopic view. The surgeon removes the herniated disc, or thick ligaments with a laser that compress the nerve. In addition, shrinking and modulating the posterior annulus fibrosis, by the flexible Holmium –YAG laser and radiofrequency can improve the back pain.

Open Laser-assisted Lumbar Discectomy is the innovation of spine surgery. The experienced surgeon could control whole procedure delicately and precisely.

Laser is precise enough to mark a 0.3mm spot between fingerprints

You will need this treatment if,   

  • Severe Lumbar disc herniation that has showed no improvement by the conservative therapy.
  • Abnormal spinous process, joint problems and complicated disc disease with spinal stenosis.

What is good about OLM?

  • Shorter operation time –about one hour
  • Smaller incision
  • Less bleeding and no blood transfusion
  • Less tissue damage
  • Lower risk of infection.
  • Short post-operative recovery period ,making return to work and other activities much quicker

What should I expect after the surgery?

While in hospital

  • In most cases, you will be able to stand up after recovery from anaesthesia.
  • You will be able to go the washroom using lumbar brace and walker.
  • You will need the lumbar brace with activity.
  • You can take a shower, with caution regarding the wound area.
  • On next day after surgery you can go home with some pain medications.

Week 1-2:

  • You will be seen within 10 days after the surgery for follow-up, wound check and physiotherapy will be planned.
  • You will still need the Lumbar brace at all times except while sleeping.
  • Sitting will be allowed for not more than 30 minutes at a time.
  • It is important to ambulate frequently to speed your recovery. You are encouraged to walk, Climb up and down the stairs.
  • You can start doing some stretching at home.
  • In general you should avoid sudden movements special bending forward and twisting movements.
  • You can pray on the chair for now.
  • You must avoid lifting any heavy objects.
  • Always sit on proper chair with good lumbar support
  • Surgical site pain gets better every day. However you should report any signs of wound infection or any neurologic symptoms.
  • You may still need some pain medications.
  • You can drive for short distances after two weeks.
  • In case of any change in condition don’t hesitate to seek help through our numbers……

Week 4:

  • Now you can pray normally without a chair
  • You should be able to return to work, you can now bend around the waist carefully.
  • You can now sit for longer times.
  • We advise to continue with home exercises like walking about 30 minutes daily, along with the physiotherapy.

Week 6:

  • Light to moderate intensity exercise is essential for spine health, we advise you to do brisk walking exercise at least three times a week.
  • You are now free to do all sorts of activities, however you should be cautious with repeated heavy work.
  • You are discharged from treatment, but we prefer to see you annually for check-up.

The surgery aims at improving the quality of life, you should be alright when discharged from treatment. However, we may make an appointment to check your progress in a year’s time. If you would like to see us after discharge, please contact us.