What to Consider Before Undergoing Degenerative Disc Disease Fusion

Degenerative Disc Disease

Patients who experience symptoms associated with degenerative disc disease have a lot to think about as they consider traditional open spinal fusion. Symptoms that develop from nerve compression can include pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. However, it’s important not to allow chronic pain to rob you of your ability to reason. Relief is an urgent priority, but careful consideration of the potential consequences of traditional open back surgery is vital.

Give it time

As tempting as it might be to seek immediate relief at the hands of a surgeon, keep in mind that about 90 percent of patients with degenerative disc disease never need to undergo surgery. Many patients don’t experience symptoms at all, and the vast majority of those who do can manage their symptoms with a course of conservative treatment outlined by a physician. Surgery should be the final option, and the choice should be made only when:

Conservative treatment has failed – a six- to 12-month period usually is necessary to determine whether chronic pain will persist despite pain medication, physical therapy, exercise and other conservative treatment.
Your way of life is threatened – this can occur when chronic neck or back pain threatens to permanently disrupt day-to-day activity at the workplace or at home.
The condition is treatable – it must be determined whether a specific disc space is responsible for producing symptoms, and if fusion can effectively treat the problem.

Before you decide to undergo traditional open spinal fusion

Here’s another factor to consider before undergoing traditional degenerative disc disease fusion surgery – there is an alternative. Laser Spine Institute offers a variety of procedures that are minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis. If you are considering nerve decompression surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our open spinal fusion alternative, and to receive a review of your MRI or CT scan.

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