Sciatic nerve surgery is generally a last resort for treating sciatica, the painful condition created by compression of the sciatic nerve. Before recommending sciatica surgery, a physician will likely prescribe a host of other noninvasive treatments. These treatments can include stretching, exercises, physical therapy, spinal decompression, hot and cold compresses, and more. Some health care providers may also recommend alternative treatments such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage. If none of these treatments have worked, doctors will sometimes suggest epidural steroid injections, which eliminate sciatica pain temporarily. From there, the only real option remaining is sciatic nerve surgery. This can come in the form of several different procedures, depending on the cause of the sciatica.
These procedures include:
- Percutaneous endoscopic discectomy: this is the removal of disc material that is pressing on thesciatic nerve.
- Foraminotomy: a procedure used to remove excess tissue in the opening of the spinal canal where the sciatic nerve exits, also known as the foramen.
- Laminotomy: the removal of a portion of the lamina – a thin bone plate that protects the nerves exiting a vertebra.
All of these sciatica surgery options can be highly invasive and can come with a variety of side effects and risks, including infection, development of excess scar tissue, and more. However, when these procedures are conducted using endoscopic methods as they are at the Laser Spine Institute, the risks and side effects are minimized and the procedures become much safer and more effective.