Disc Surgery is one of the possible treatment options for a Herniated Disc, commonly also referred to as a slipped disc’ or a ‘pinched nerve’. As we mentioned in some of our previous articles, it is a condition that occurs when when one of the discs that sit between the bones of the spine (the vertebrae) is damaged and presses on the nerve. This can cause back pain and neck pain, as well as symptoms such as numbness, a tingling sensation, or weakness in other areas of the body. According to our orthopedic surgeons at Orthopaedic Surgery Associates, if the nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve the patient’s pain, disc surgery may be indicated.
Depending on your condition, there are different types of disc surgeries and although they are all aimed at relieving pain in your back, they are completely different procedures. For example, your orthopedic specialist – including our orthopedic specialists in Boca Raton – may recommend you undergo an anterior cervical decompression (discectomy), during which the doctor removes the disc material through the front of the neck. The disc space is then fused in order to keep it open. That relieves the pain that the patient experiences thanks to the decompression in nerve and spinal cord it causes. The main advantage is less postoperative pain – during the procedure, only one thin vestigial muscle is cut. Another option is a posterior cervical laminectomy, during which the doctor removes the disc material through the back of the neck1. Typically, the doctor removed the damaged disc and fuses the disc space, however, in some cases, an artificial disc may be inserted in the place of the original disc. Is it important to know your options beforehand and consult with your orthopedic surgeon to establish the best possible treatment in your case.
According to our orthopedic surgeons in Boca Raton, the postoperative care is a very important part of the process. Disc surgeries commonly don’t require a long period of rehabilitation, however, the patient is required to rest and withdraw from any activities that may cause the wound to open or prevent from healing properly. Because the disc surgery is not considered an invasive procedure, the patient can usually go home the same day after the surgery. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the orthopedic doctor makes only a small incision on the patient’s neck, so there isn’t a lot of postoperative pain. Depending on your condition, the doctor may recommend wearing a neck brace.
A disc surgery is considered a highly effective treatment option for a herniated (lumbar) disc. A study conducted on over 39.000 of patients showed that the results of 84% of the patients undergoing microdiscectomy, and 80% of those having an endoscopic microdiscectomy, were ‘good’ or ‘excellent’2. Another study found that people who had surgery for a lumbar herniated disc experienced more improvement in symptoms for up to two years than those having nonsurgical treatment3.
If you’d like to find out more about possible treatments for herniated discs, or talk to one of our orthopedics Boca Raton specialists about your options, visit our website or call us to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons. We look forward to seeing you!