Information on bulging disc surgery
A bulging disc occurs when one of the discs that cushions the spinal bones bulges beyond its normal boundary. Not every bulging disc causes symptoms, and even when one does, the condition doesn’t always require surgery. A bulging disc has the potential to place pressure on the spinal cord, as well as the nerve roots that start in the spine and run to other areas of the body. If any of these nerves are compressed, it can cause symptoms that travel down the pathway of an affected nerve, causing weakness, numbness, pain and other problems in the extremities. Nonsurgical treatments are typically effective in alleviating these problems, but some patients may require bulging disc surgery to achieve the relief that they need.
What surgery involves
Bulging disc surgery is usually performed to remove part or all of a damaged disc. Surgeons can use a few different techniques to help alleviate symptoms, such as:
- Extracting part of a disc during a partial discectomy
- Taking out an entire disc during a total discectomy and fusing the two adjacent spinal bones together for added stability
- Taking out an entire disc during a total discectomy and replacing it with an artificial disc
Each of these procedures has unique benefits and drawbacks, so people who are interested in surgery should be sure to do their homework before consenting to a specific procedure.
One important distinction
One of the more important points for patients to understand is that there are both conventional open spine and minimally invasive techniques that can be used to perform bulging disc surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we perform minimally invasive procedures that are safer and effective alternatives to open spine surgery for certain patients who have bulging discs.
If you’d like to know whether you’re a candidate for one of our outpatient procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.