Bulging disc operation

A bulging disc operation is a procedure that takes pressure off the spinal nerves caused by a disc that is extending out into the spinal canal.

Because the nerves in the spine deliver sensation to the rest of the body, any stress on those nerves can cause symptoms in the legs, arms, shoulders, hands or feet as well as in the back. Those symptoms include pain, tingling, numbness and weakness. If they become so severe that your quality of life is comprised, a bulging disc operation may be an option worth exploring.

Conservative options to treat a bulging disc

However, since a bulging disc operation involves some risks, physicians generally suggest that you try more conservative, noninvasive treatments first. These options can include rest, mild exercise, physical therapy, hot and cold compresses, over-the-counter pain medications and epidural cortisone injections.

Alternative therapies for bulging disc, such as acupuncture or chiropractic treatment, are also sometimes suggested prior to surgery. During an acupuncture treatment, an acupuncturist inserts long, thin needles into certain locations in the body to improve energy flow and reduce symptoms. Chiropractic treatment involves realigning the vertebrae in the back to reduce pressure on the bulging disc.

Surgical options to treat a bulging disc

If you have exhausted your conservative and alternative treatment options, but still experience severe pain, your physician may suggest a bulging disc operation, one of which is called a discectomy. In a traditional open spine surgery, a surgeon will completely or partially remove the disc putting pressure on the spinal nerves. This highly invasive procedure includes large muscle-tearing incisions, scar tissue, an increased risk of infection and a long and difficult recovery.

You do have other surgical options, however. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer an alternative to traditional open spine surgery in the form of minimally invasive spine surgery. Our surgeons perform a minimally invasive discectomy that can treat your bulging disc pain on an outpatient basis. In this decompression procedure, the portion of the bulging disc pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord is removed with a small muscle-sparing incision.

Contact us for more information about the minimally invasive procedures we offer and for your no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a candidate.