A herniated disc operation is a procedure that aims to reduce the painful symptoms of disc herniation by completely or partially removing an intervertebral disc. While this procedure is an effective treatment option, it is an invasive procedure that should be used as a last resort for pain relief. In order to understand how it works, it helps to know how the back and spine are structured first.
The spinal cord runs the length of your back and it is protected by vertebrae and intervertebral discs. These discs cushion the vertebrae and provide the spine with flexibility. As we age, the cartilage begins to degrade, and a herniated disc can occur. This happens when a disc’s fibrous outer wall becomes so thin or stressed that it ruptures and the inner jelly-like material of the disc leaks out into the spinal canal. This extrusion can put pressure on the surrounding spinal nerves, which in turn causes symptoms such as weakness, numbness, pain, and a “pins-and-needles” feeling. If you experience pain or weakness in the legs or buttocks, your herniated disc is in the lumbar (lower) region. If the pain or numbness occurs in the arms, shoulders, or the neck, the herniated disc is most likely in the cervical (upper) region of the spine.
A herniated disc operation can alleviate this pain by removing all or part of herniated disc. In a traditional surgery this happens with a large incision and hospitalization. All of those factors increase your risks for infection or other complications. Thankfully, there is another alternative—minimally-invasive, outpatient procedures performed at the Laser Spine Institute. The procedures we offer have proven to be significantly more successful than traditional herniated disc operations and they are generally safer as well. Contact us today for your MRI review to learn if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.