Will I Need Surgery For A Herniated Disc?
A herniated disc can occur to any part of the spine and can cause significant irritation and pain for patients. To relieve a herniated disc, the doctor will first recommend nonsurgical treatment options such as physical therapy and medication. However, for some people, a herniated disc causes significant pain and limitations, which require surgical intervention such as a microdiscectomy, laminectomy, or spinal fusion.
Why is a herniated disc so problematic?
In between the bones in the spine are discs that serve as shock absorbers to cushion bones. Trauma to the spine can cause a herniation. A herniated disc can cause severe limitations such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the back and extremities. A herniated disc can lead to severe mobility restrictions.
Surgery may be your best option
Surgery is not recommended until all other options have been attempted. Surgery may be advised if a patient is healthy but is experiencing:
- Daily life limitations due to pain
- Numbness or weakness that restricts mobility
- Lack of bladder or bowel control
- Problems with standing or walking for extended periods
What types of surgery can treat a herniated disc?
A typical surgery for a herniated disc can be a microdiscectomy, laminectomy, or spinal fusion surgery. Each patient is evaluated by a surgeon to determine which surgery is the best option. In some cases, a combination of surgeries may be required.
Small procedure, significant results
During a microdiscectomy, a surgeon will remove the damaged disc to relieve pressure on the nerves. In a microdiscectomy, this is done through a small cut in which a camera is inserted. The surgeon uses the camera to find the disc and remove it.
The key to relieving pressure
Some patients have leg pain and sciatica due to a herniated disc. During a laminectomy, a surgeon removes most or all of the lamina, which is a cover on the vertebrae. Removing this lamina can relieve pressure on the nerves in the spine, which can stop pain and sciatica.
A fusion for back pain relief
A spinal fusion is an operation that creates a stable union between 2 or more vertebrae. The 2 bones of the vertebrae are fused. This procedure can strengthen and stabilize the spine and alleviate severe and chronic back pain.
When to talk to your doctor
Patients experiencing chronic and debilitating restrictions due to a herniated disc should discuss surgical options with a healthcare provider. Surgical options such as a microdiscectomy, laminectomy, or spinal fusion have outstanding track records for relieving pain. Each patient’s unique circumstance will determine which procedure is the right choice.