A discectomy is a surgical procedure used to treat a damaged disc in the spine that is compressing a nerve root in the spinal canal. The purpose of this procedure is to remove a small portion of the disc to decompress the nerve, or the entire damaged disc if it is no longer capable of supporting the surrounding vertebrae.
For many patients, a discectomy is recommended after several months of conservative treatment for degenerative disc diseases has proved ineffective. Degenerative disc diseases include bulging discs, herniated discs or any type of disc damage in the spine. Because of the degenerative nature of these conditions, many adults over the age of 50 begin to develop the symptoms associated with a damaged disc.
When a discectomy is recommended to treat chronic neck or back pain, you should always research the types of discectomy procedures available. Many patients associate discectomy surgery with traditional open back surgery or fusion, which is a highly invasive procedure with unnecessarily increased risks of infection and complication. However, there is a safer alternative that provides effective results — the minimally invasive discectomy procedures at Laser Spine Institute.
Advantages of minimally invasive discectomy procedures
Typically, a traditional open back discectomy and fusion is performed in a hospital setting and requires the patient to endure several days of postoperative hospitalization. This is because the highly invasive techniques used to reach the spine increase a patient’s risk of excessive blood loss and complications, as well as failed back surgery syndrome.
The procedure begins with a large incision in the back that cuts through the muscles surrounding the spine. Through this incision, the surgeon carefully detaches the muscles to have an easier approach to the damaged disc. Once the damaged disc is removed, the surgeon then uses a metal cage, screws and bolts to fuse together the two vertebrae surrounding the empty disc space, stabilizing the spine.
The use of a metal cage to fuse the spine together creates immobility or very limited mobility in that one area of the spine. Additionally, the excessive scar tissue that could form from the large incision could block the fusion from staying in place in the spine, resulting in failed back surgery syndrome.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer procedure that yields higher patient satisfaction scores than traditional discectomy and fusion. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedures access the spine through a small incision in the back, leaving the surrounding muscles undisturbed. Through this incision, the damaged disc is removed and an artificial disc or bone graft is inserted in the empty disc space. This allows the spine to maintain its normal mobility after surgery.
For more information about the advantages of minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute, please call our team today.