The disc in the spine is an integral piece to the overall stability and structure of the spine. Though small and gel-like, these strong discs are responsible for spacing and supporting the vertebrae of the spine and allowing them to move freely.
Because the discs are so important to the integrity of the spine, any damage to a disc could cause a serious condition to develop in the spine and ultimately lead to pain and limited mobility. In some cases, these degenerative disc diseases, such as a bulging disc, can be effectively treated with conservative, nonsurgical treatment methods. However, if the disc is severely damaged and impacting a nerve root in the spinal canal, the only possible treatment option may be a disc operation.
What to expect during a disc operation
The purpose of a disc operation is to remove a portion of or the entire damaged disc from the spine in order to relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve root in the spinal canal. Though the spine damage is found in the disc, the pain patients experience originates from the pinched nerve that sends pain signals from the spine to the brain and extremities.
What to expect during the procedure depends on the type of surgery performed and the location and severity of the disc damage. One disc operation, called a discectomy, involves removing the entire damaged disc. This surgery is often accompanied by a spinal fusion, a procedure that uses bone grafts and surgical implants to stabilize the vertebrae.
The aim of a discectomy and fusion operation is to strengthen areas of the spine that are weakened by removing the disc. It’s also used to treat other conditions, including disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, or a herniated disc. These surgeries may be performed as traditional open spine surgeries or as minimally invasive procedures. Traditional open back surgeries involve longer recovery periods,* increased risk of infection and larger incisions.
For patients searching for a safer and effective form of disc surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers a minimally invasive decompression procedure and a minimally invasive stabilization procedure to treat the common forms of disc disease. Our minimally invasive decompression procedure removes a small portion of the damaged or bulging disc to relieve pressure on the compressed nerve root that is causing the pain and symptoms. This procedure is performed through a 1-inch incision and does not impact the surrounding muscles or soft tissue.
Our minimally invasive stabilization procedure is also performed through a small incision and removes the entire damaged disc to free the impacted nerve root. Once the disc is removed, an artificial disc is inserted into the empty disc space to immediately stabilize the spine.
For more information about the minimally invasive disc procedures at Laser Spine Institute, please contact us today.