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New Endoscopic (Key-hole) Disc Surgery Technique offers less risks and quicker recovery times


Mr Irfan Malik on behalf of the London Neurosurgery Partnership is very proud to bring the technique of Endoscopic Microdiscectomy to The Harley Street Clinic. He is the first surgeon in England to offer and perform this technique. This development is part of the ongoing commitment of the London Neurosurgery Partnership to introduce the latest techniques to improve patient care while ensuring that before its introduction each technique has been vetted for its efficacy and safety.

A slipped disc is a common cause of back pain and leg pain (Sciatica) and around 10 per cent of patients end up having surgery.

Traditional open surgery for Sciatica caused by a slipped disc is performed through an operation called a microdisectomy. This involves making a cut of 5 to 10 cm in the back and damaging the muscles and the bones of the spine to remove the offending disc. However, a new option called key-hole endoscopic spine surgery is now available here at The Harley Street Clinic.

This procedure can performed on a significant number of patients who would otherwise have to endure open surgery and the whole procedure is performed through a cut no bigger than a needle puncture using the endoscope (microscopic camera).

The procedure takes about an hour and there aren’t any stitches — after the endoscope is removed a plaster is simply put over the small cut. Patients may feel a little pain or discomfort afterwards and are given paracetamol to take if they need it for the first 24 hours. Most can walk straight away and go home within two hours.

While the success rate of this procedure is about the same as open conventional back surgery — around 95 per cent — there are huge advantages for patients.

  • Because it is not open surgery there are fewer complications; there is a lower risk of blood clots forming, scarring, blood loss and infection, no danger of spinal fluid leaking and minimal risk of injury to the nerves, and none of the side-effects associated with a general anaesthetic.

  • With conventional surgery, about 20 per cent of patients develop scar tissue around the nerves which can cause recurrence of symptoms, while with keyhole surgery there is no risk of scarring.

  • Recovery is quicker and less painful because the muscles in the back are not cut during the operation.

Despite these advantages, few surgeons offer this technique because it requires specialist training — the operation here is undertaken by Mr Irfan Malik, Consultant Neurosurgeon. He is the first surgeon to offer this technique in England in the private sector having trained on the technique in his Academic NHS unit where he continues to operate. He has already conducted nearly 50 of these operations successfully – both in the NHS and here at The Harley Street Clinic.

For further details or to make an appointment please contact The London Neurosurgery Partnership Practice Manager on 020 7034 8977.