Undergoing neck disc surgery, like any surgery, is a serious decision that should only be considered after a course of conservative treatment has been attempted. Pain medication, steroid injections, chiropractic work and mild stretching may be all you need to keep neck pain at bay. However, many people’s neck pain becomes so severe that they are forced to consider the option of neck disc surgery. Let’s look at a few common conditions that might merit spinal disc surgery.
The neck and upper back are part of the cervical region of the spine. This is the area that keeps the head erect and also allows the head and neck to have a wide range of motion. Many of our daily activities use the muscles and vertebrae of the neck, and sometimes we forget how crucial its health is to our quality of life.
There are seven vertebrae in the cervical region, and between each segment of bone (except for the first two) there is an intervertebral disc that serves a protective and connective role. As we age, however, these discs begin to erode. This erosion gives rise to painful conditions like a herniated disc (a torn disc that extrudes its inner material into the spinal canal) or a bulging disc (a disc that has not ruptured but has pushed beyond its designated perimeter, thereby exerting painful pressure on surrounding spinal nerves).
A common neck disc surgery aimed at relieving pain from herniated discs and bulging discs is a discectomy. “-Ectomy” literally refers to the removal of something, while “disc-” refers to the diseased intervertebral disc. More likely, though, a surgeon will only remove part of the diseased disc so that new disc material will be generated from the healthy portion. When performed as a traditional open spine procedure, a discectomy is an invasive neck disc surgery that will require a large incision. It is likely that your physician will ask you to remain in the hospital for several days afterward so that you can be observed for infection or inflammation. Because a traditional, open spine discectomy generally involves tearing or cutting of muscle, recovery periods can last for up to a year.
If you are considering a discectomy as a type of back surgery, the experts at Laser Spine Institute would like to introduce you to our minimally invasive discectomy. We use an extremely small incision and minimally invasive technology to dissolve the troublesome portion of the diseased disc. This surgery allows for an expedited recovery period and outpatient status. Contact us today for your MRI or CT scan review, and to find out if outpatient neck disc surgery at Laser Spine Institute is right for you.