BACKGROUND Far lateral lumbar disc herniation is an uncommon condition that may compress the nerve root outside the vertebral canal and in its extraforaminal course. The traditional midline interlaminar approach for the exploration of far lateral lumbar disc herniation is often difficult because the intervertebral articulation obviates a direct view of the course of the extraspinal nerve. In this report, we present two surgical approaches for the treatment of far lateral lumbar disc herniation: the paramedian muscle-splitting microtechnique and the enlarged midline approach. METHODS Eight patients with far lateral lumbar disc herniation were found among 160 lumbar disc operations in 160 patients. According to computed tomography results, we divided patients with far lateral lumbar disc herniations into two groups; the extraforaminal and foraminal groups. Clinical presentation, imaging studies and surgical approach were thoroughly reviewed. RESULTS Three patients in the extraforaminal group underwent the paramedian muscle-splitting microtechnique. Two patients in the foraminal group underwent the enlarged midline approach. The other three were operated on before the introduction of the paramedian muscle-splitting microtechnique and the enlarged midline approach. One of these patients who underwent the traditional interlaminar approach with resection of the lateral portion of facet joint, received additional instrumentation and fusion for the prevention of further instability. All had good results and no further surgical treatment was necessary. CONCLUSIONS The incidence of far lateral lumbar disc herniation was 5% of all surgically treated disc herniations at our institution. For the extraforaminal group, the paramedian muscle-splitting microtechnique is the surgical route of choice. For the foraminal group, the enlarged midline approach is better than the traditional, interlaminar approach in saving the facet joint and preventing postoperative instability.