Of a total of 330 patients requiring operation on a lumbar disc, 20 (6.1%) with lateral disc prolapse had a new muscle-splitting, intertransverse approach which requires minimal resection of bone. There were 16 men and 4 women with a mean age of 52 years. All had intense radicular pain, 15 had femoral radiculopathy and 19 a neurological deficit. Far lateral herniation of the disc had been confirmed by MRI. At operation, excellent access was obtained to the spinal nerve, dorsal root ganglion and the disc prolapse. The posterior primary ramus was useful in locating the spinal nerve and dorsal root ganglion during dissection of the intertransverse space. At review from six months to four years, 12 patients had excellent results with no residual pain and six had good results with mild discomfort and no functional impairment. Two had poor results. There had been neurological improvement in 17 of the 20 patients. We report a cadaver study of the anatomy of the posterior primary ramus. It is readily identifiable through this approach and can be traced down to the spinal nerve in the intertransverse space. We recommend the use of a muscle-splitting intertransverse approach to far lateral herniation of the disc, using the posterior primary ramus as the key to safe dissection.