Discectomy overview

A discectomy is a surgical procedure performed for patients who have a damaged or diseased disc in the spine. In many patients, a herniated disc or another disc disease can lead to several uncomfortable symptoms, including numbness, weakness, tingling and pain. To address these issues, doctors recommend conservative treatments, including pain medications, physical therapy or osteopathic manipulative treatment. If these methods don’t yield sufficient results after several weeks or months, then health care providers may suggest surgery.

There are a couple of different options for spine surgery to treat a damaged disc, though the most popular option is a discectomy. Patients can often choose either a minimally invasive discectomy or a traditional open back discectomy. While the two procedures have the same goal of treating a damaged disc, their approach to the spine differs greatly. You should research these two options and educate yourself through the information provided in the following article before choosing which procedure is best for you.

What to expect during a traditional open back discectomy

During a highly invasive traditional open back discectomy, either part or all of the damaged disc is carefully removed from the spinal canal. In order to reach the spine to remove the disc, the surgeon must cut a large incision in the back that is 6- to 8-inches in length, tearing through the muscles to have a clear pathway to the disc.

How a minimally invasive discectomy procedure differs

At Laser Spine Institute, we perform a safer and effective alternative to a traditional open back discectomy ^ called a minimally invasive discectomy. In this minimally invasive procedure, the damaged disc material is removed, relieving pressure on the nearby spinal cord or nerve roots. To learn more about the advantages of choosing a minimally invasive procedure, contact us today.

At Laser Spine Institute, our dedicated team performs a minimally invasive discectomy through a less than 1-inch incision that does not unnecessarily disrupt the muscles or ligaments surrounding the spine, thereby greatly reducing the recovery time and the risk of complication^ compared to a traditional open back discectomy.

In certain cases, the entire damaged disc may need to be removed through a small incision, causing our board-certified surgeons+ to combine the discectomy with a stabilization procedure. After the damaged disc is removed, an artificial disc is inserted in its place. This procedure would be discussed with the patient long before the surgical date.

By reviewing your MRI or CT scan for free,* Laser Spine Institute can determine whether you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our outpatient procedures have helped more than 75,000 patient find relief from their chronic neck or back pain since 2005 and we look forward to helping guide you on your road to recovery.