Discectomy — traditional open back surgery versus minimally invasive procedures

A discectomy is a surgical procedure used to treat a damaged disc in the spine that is affected by spinal nerve compression and potentially instability. 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 a degenerative disc condition has proved ineffective. This includes degenerative disc disease, bulging discs and other conditions. Because these conditions are often age related, 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 with traditional open back surgeries, such as spinal fusions, which are highly invasive in nature. However, Laser Spine Institute offers a safer and effective alternative^ with our minimally invasive discectomy procedures that offer our patients less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time in comparison.

Overview of a traditional open back discectomy

Typically, a traditional open back discectomy is performed in a hospital setting and may require several days of postoperative hospitalization. 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. If a spinal fusion is being performed, the surgeon then uses bone graft material, a metal cage, screws and bolts to fuse together the two vertebrae surrounding the empty disc space, stabilizing the spine.

Minimally invasive stabilization at Laser Spine Institute

At Laser Spine Institute our board-certified surgeons+ use muscle-sparing techniques to access the spine and treat a damaged disc, allowing for an outpatient procedure. We provide a minimally invasive discectomy, which removes only the disc material needed to take pressure off of an affected nerve. Additionally, our surgeons perform a range of minimally invasive stabilization procedures that are an alternative to traditional open back discectomy fusion surgery.

For more information about the advantages of minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute, please contact our team today. We can help you receive a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.