Disc surgery can be a worrisome prospect for some people. Not only is there a nervousness about invasive surgery near the spinal cord, but patients also dread the fact that traditional disc surgery requires a hospital stay and hours on the operating table.
- Anterior cervical decompression – This surgery is designed to treat a cervical bulging disc or herniated disc. During the procedure, a surgeon will make a 1-2 inch incision in the side of the neck to access the damaged disc. Once the damaged disc is located, the surgeon will remove the disc and a corresponding ligament. Then, bone that has been taken from a donor site in the body is used to fill the space where the bulging or herniated disc used to be. This encourages the vertebrae above and below the damaged disc to grow together, or fuse, permanently. Possible complications from this disc surgery include difficulty swallowing (because of the location of the incision), failure to relieve back or neck pain symptoms, damage to the nerve root or spinal cord, and more.
- Spinal fusion surgery – This surgery is designed to permanently stop deteriorating vertebrae from moving. By immobilizing damaged vertebrae, it is believed pain should be relieved. For this procedure, a surgeon will use a bone graft to encourage two adjacent vertebrae to become one bone. The graft might come from a donor site in the patient’s hip, from a cadaver, or from an artificial bone substitute. To keep the graft in place until it has a chance to grow, a surgeon may use screws and other hardware.
- Artificial disc replacement surgery – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the use of artificial discs to replace damaged spinal discs in the lower (or lumbar) region of the back. This disc surgery is so new, however, that long-term results are not known. To replace a lumbar bulging disc or herniated disc with an artificial disc, the surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen, move abdominal tissues and organs out of the way, and then replace the damaged disc with the artificial disc. Like all invasive surgeries, artificial disc replacement surgery requires hospitalization, weeks of recovery time, and rehabilitation. Patients with an artificial disc also need to go to follow-up visits every year so that doctors can make sure the disc replacement is still in good shape.
If you are concerned about the risks of traditional disc surgery, we hope you will consider the revolutionary procedures offered by Laser Spine Institute. Our gentle, outpatient procedures provide patients with fast recovery times, high chances of success, and many other benefits. Please contact us today for a free MRI or CT scan review.