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Lumbar Endoscopic Laminectomy / Discectomy

What is a lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy?

Lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy is a state-of-the-art ultra-minimally invasive surgery performed by very few spine surgeons who have been specially trained.  The goal of the surgery is to remove sources of nerve or spinal cord compression that can cause symptoms (bone spurs, disc herniations).

The procedure uses a pen-tip sized incision assisted with an endoscope (small camera) for visualization much like a knee arthroscopy. This surgery provides patients with an even quicker recovery and less pain than traditional spine surgery and even minimally invasive tubular spine surgery (MIS).

Studies have shown that this endoscopic technique is safe and effective to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, lumbar disc herniation and spinal arthritis. However, this technique should only be performed by spine surgeons with advanced endoscopic skills, such as Chicago spine surgeon Dr. Kern Singh.

When is a lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy performed?

Lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy is performed for the treatment of:

Who is a candidate for a lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy?

Not everyone will be a good candidate for a lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy. A thorough discussion and work-up with Dr. Singh can help determine if you are a candidate for an endoscopic approach. 

How is a lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy performed?

Dr. Singh will perform the procedure by first making a small incision, about 1 to 2 cm in the patient’s back. Through the use of special instrumentation, Dr. Singh is able to access the spine with little disruption or cutting of the surrounding soft tissue and muscles, resulting in less muscle injury than a traditional discectomy procedure. Dr. Singh then expertly removes a portion of bone to provide access to remove a piece of the disc that has herniated through the annulus fibrosus (outer wall) and is compressing the spinal nerve.

Next, a tiny camera is inserted into the targeted area of the spine. Throughout the procedure, the camera captures and projects real-time images of the operative site onto a monitor for Dr. Singh to see. The endoscopic camera assists and guides Dr. Singh during the surgical procedure. The images and videos of the disc bulge and nerve root are provided to the patient following surgery.

Most patients experience immediate and significant improvement in their pain because the compression of nerves has been corrected immediately following surgery.

Recovering from a lumbar endoscopic laminectomy/discectomy

Patients can expect to go home the same day and are able to walk less than 2 hours after surgery. Normal activity can be resumed in as little as one week, depending on how strenuous work and other daily activities are.

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If you or a loved has persistent back pain, contact Chicago spine surgeon Dr. Kern Singh who can assess your situation, provide an accurate diagnosis and guide you on the most suitable treatment options.

Dr. Kern Singh, MD is an internationally renowned spine surgeon specializing in outpatient minimally invasive and motion-preserving techniques and endoscopic spine surgery at Midwest Orthopedics at RUSH and Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Kern Singh is one of the nation’s Top 100 spine surgeons and beloved by his patients for his compassionate care and excellent outcomes. He welcomes nationally and internationally-based patients.


  • https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/minimally-invasive-spine-surgery/
  • Wagner R, Haefner M. Indications and Contraindications of Full-Endoscopic Interlaminar Lumbar Decompression. World Neurosurg. 2021 Jan;145:657-662. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.08.042. Epub 2020 Aug 15. PMID: 32810629.
  • Ju CI, Lee SM. Complications and Management of Endoscopic Spinal Surgery. Neurospine. 2023 Mar;20(1):56-77. doi: 10.14245/ns.2346226.113. Epub 2023 Mar 31. PMID: 37016854; PMCID: PMC10080410.
At A Glance

Dr. Kern Singh

  • Minimally invasive and endoscopic spine surgeon
  • Inventor and surgeon innovator with multiple patents in spinal surgery and instrumentation
  • Author of more than 10 textbooks in minimally invasive spinal surgery
  • Learn more

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