FAQs on endoscopic minimally invasive disc surgery with the TESSYS® and iLESSYS® methods

My doctor has diagnosed a lateral disc herniation, and he proposed me a major intervention – can that be avoided with the TESSYS® method?

In a lateral disc prolapse tissue slides into the intervertebral foramen. With the TESSYS® method, this area is accessed very easily and it is therefore the method of choice for these cases.

In contrast, the intervertebral foramen with the conventional surgical method is sometimes more difficult to access.

I have a herniated disc in the L5/S1 level – can I be operated on with TESSYS® / iLESSYS®?

Most likely yes, because with TESSYS® and iLESSYS® nearly all types of disc herniations can be treated successfully.

I’ve had discectomy already – Can I now be treated for my current herniated disc with the TESSYS® method?

The endoscopic TESSYS® method uses a different access route to the disc compared to the classic method. Scar tissue from a previous surgery is most likely not in the way. It is even possible to remove not only the herniated disc, but also this scar tissue in the course of a TESSYS® surgery. As such, scar tissue can cause severe pain if it compromises nerves, TESSYS® is a very good technique for a revision disc surgery.

I already have screws in the spine – can I now be operated on for my herniated disc with the TESSYS® method?

Usually, operation with the TESSYS® method is also possible when segments of the spine have already been fused or fixed, because access to the herniated disc is achieved through the intervertebral foramen.

I am very overweight – is it possible to treat my herniated disc with the TESSYS® method?

Yes, the TESSYS® method is also suitable for cases of severe obesity, where conventional surgery is sometimes difficult.

Are iLESSYS® and TESSYS® safe methods?

Yes, TESSYS® and iLESSYS® have now been successfully carried out worldwide in more than 180,000 cases. There are scientific publications that confirm the high success rates, low complication rates and high levels of patient satisfaction1-4.

1. A. Godschalx und M. Iprenburg, „Transforaminal Endoscopic Surgery in Lumbar Disc Herniation in an Economic Crisisâ The TESSYS Method“ (2008).
2. S Molyneux, H.J. Spens, und Alastair Gibson, „TRANSFORAMINAL ENDOSCOPIC OR MICRO-DISCECTOMY – EARLY RESULTS OF A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL“, Proceedings of Britspine (2010).
3. Michael Schubert, „Endoscopic transforaminal discectomy. Results of a prospective study with a 2-year follow-up“, eposter Eurospine, Warsaw (2009).
4. T. Hoogland u. a., „Endoscopic transforaminal discectomy for recurrent lumbar disc herniation: a prospective, cohort evaluation of 262 consecutive cases“, Spine 33, Nr. 9 (2008): 973.

Am I too old for a lumbar disc surgery?

Probably not. So far, the oldest patient, who was operated on successfully with the TESSYS® method, was 94 years old.

What is analgo-sedation?

Analgo-sedation is a modern anesthesia option that combines a local anesthestic (analgesia) with a tranquilizer (sedation). The patient is pain-free and sleepy, but does not lose consciousness and hence remains responsive. The procedure has fewer risks and side effects than general anesthesia. The really big advantage for disc surgery: The patient becomes alert when the surgeon comes too close to the nerve fibres. With this immediate feedback, nerve damage during surgery is almost completely excluded.

Will I have pain during the surgery while I am under analgo-sedation?

Usually not, you won’t notice much of the intervention and later you will hardly remember any of it. It can be a bit uncomfortable when the surgeon widens your intervertebral foramen with a tiny reamer. The anesthesiologist will be with you during the whole procedure and can adjust the dosage of the medication continuously, in order to ease pain, if needed.

Can TESSYS® / iLESSYS® be carried out without general anesthesia?

Yes, the procedure can be performed under a local anesthetic. In addition, the anesthesiologist will put you with a tranquilizer in a pleasant slumber. This form of anesthesia is called "analgo-sedation".

Can I participate in sports again after my discectomy with TESSYS® / iLESSYS®?

Very likely, yes. After an initial period of rest, you will be able to participate in sports again. Actually, a well-trained musculature is very important because it is the best way to stabilize the spine and prevent further back problems. Talk to your doctor about the right time for a return to physical activity and appropriate sports.

How long will I be on sick leave after my TESSYS® / iLESSYS® surgery?

That depends on several factors. On the one hand, of course, on the severity of the herniated disc and eventual nerve damages, on the other hand on the nature of your profession - you can return faster to your desk than to physically demanding work. Most patients are back at work after 6 weeks.