Considering sciatica surgery

While conservative treatment is often effective for managing sciatica, surgery is can become a serious consideration for some sciatica patients who are seeking long-term symptom relief. Sciatica is a set of symptoms that can arise when the sciatic nerve is compressed. In addition to relieving pain, the primary goal of treatment is also to take steps to take pressure off the sciatic nerve. If nonsurgical methods like manual adjustment, physical therapy and weight loss are unable to achieve this, then a surgical procedure that removes the source of sciatic nerve compression may be the best option.

What causes sciatica?

Sciatica can develop for a number of reasons ranging from the development of a degenerative spine condition to injury. Normal wear and tear and age-related degeneration of the parts of the spine are the most common causes of sciatic nerve compression. The symptoms most often associated with sciatica are lower back pain, chronic leg pain and numbness/tingling, which result from the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve in the lumbar (lower) spine. The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the body and is responsible for sending sensory and motor signals between the brain and the lower body. Disruption of these signals causes a person to experience the symptoms associated with sciatica.

Why surgery may be required

In most cases, when a patient is diagnosed with sciatica, a doctor will develop a treatment plan consisting of a series of conservative techniques. Anti-inflammatory drugs, hot/cold therapy, massage, stretching techniques and low-impact exercise are common approaches that can be effective for relieving sciatica when used over the course of several months.

Sciatica surgery is usually reserved for individuals who experience debilitating symptoms and have attempted a full course of conservative treatment options without success. In these cases, sciatic nerve decompression surgery might be recommended.

Surgical options

In years past, patients undergoing sciatica surgery required a traditional open spine procedure. When traditional open spine surgery is performed, a large incision is required to access the affected region of the spine and remove the source of sciatic nerve compression. This approach requires overnight hospitalization followed by a long, often difficult, recovery period. As a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures, Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery that offers our patients a shorter recovery time.^

To learn more about sciatica surgery and other treatment options, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can provide a free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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