Understanding the risks of herniated disc surgery with fusion

It can be difficult to live with a herniated disc — a spine condition that can cause debilitating pain and discomfort when the disc pushes out of the disc space and into the spinal cord. Herniated disc surgery with spinal fusion is a technique used to relieve the painful symptoms associated with a nerve that’s being compressed by a disc herniation.

You may experience pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness with a herniated disc. These symptoms can sometimes be managed using conservative treatments such as pain medication, physical therapy, rest or stretching techniques. Traditional open spinal fusion surgery is typically used as a last resort when all other options to find pain relief have been exhausted.

If you’re considering herniated disc surgery, we recommend you explore the minimally invasive surgical options available at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery^ and is performed in an outpatient setting. Contact our dedicated team today to learn more about our minimally invasive spine surgery and patient satisfaction score of 96.^

Potential drawbacks of traditional open spine fusion surgery

The decision to have spine surgery is not an easy one to make. If a herniated disc is severe, traditional open spine fusion surgery is usually one of the last options for neck or back pain relief. During traditional open spine surgery, a 6- to 8-inch incision is made in order to cut through the muscles and perform the fusion procedure.

The damage to the surrounding muscles during this type of procedure disrupts the spine and can lead to increased risk of infection and complication. After the procedure, the patient is hospitalized for two to five days during an extended recovery period. Before you have surgery to treat a herniated disc, we encourage you to research the potential risks of traditional open spine fusion procedures.

Other possible disadvantages of open spine herniated disc surgery involving fusion include:

  • Full recovery can take up to a year or longer
  • The insertion of implants and bone grafts, which can be rejected by the body and result in failed back surgery syndrome
  • Vertebrae above and below the stabilized area can become unstable because of increased stress, leading to more herniated discs, bone spurs or spinal stenosis

The minimally invasive alternative to traditional open spine fusion surgery

Before you decide to have open spine herniated disc surgery, we encourage you to explore the minimally invasive spine surgery options available at Laser Spine Institute. With a less than 1-inch incision, our minimally invasive outpatient procedures can provide relief from the chronic neck and back pain caused by many spine conditions.

At our state-of-the-art outpatient facilities, our board-certified surgeons+ use muscle-sparing techniques that spread the muscles without cutting, reducing the risk of infection and complication when compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ With a patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100,^ we’ve helped thousands of patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain each year.

Our highly skilled surgeons may recommend minimally invasive decompression surgery or minimally invasive stabilization surgery, depending on the severity of your herniated disc condition. Reach out to Laser Spine Institute to learn more, or to request a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our procedures.

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