Back and disc surgery

If you have been experiencing back pain for months or years due to a damaged disc, you may think surgery is your last option to find pain relief.

In fact, many people may think that back and disc surgery is the only way to relieve the symptoms of a damaged disc. However, surgery is often reserved as a final treatment option — only used if several months of conservative treatment have proven ineffective. Before back and disc surgery is recommended, your doctor will likely direct you through a course of nonsurgical treatments, which may include any of the following options:

  • Pain medication
  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Yoga and stretching
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Weight loss

These nonsurgical treatments are often effective methods of pain relief for many patients. Still, some patients may not respond to this type of treatment, making back and disc surgery the next option.

What is back and disc surgery

Back and disc surgery — commonly referred to as a discectomy — is used to remove a damaged disc that is pressing against a nerve root near the spine. A compressed nerve root is usually the cause of the pain and symptoms associated with a damaged disc. That’s why removing pressure from this nerve root helps to reduce your pain and get you back to an active lifestyle.

A discectomy can be used to remove a small portion of the damaged disc or the entire disc if it is no longer able to support the spine. This can be performed through a highly invasive method called traditional open back surgery, or it can be done through minimally invasive spine surgery which holds many advantages over traditional methods.

Understanding back and disc surgery

During a traditional open back discectomy, the spine is reached through a large incision that cuts and tears the muscles surrounding the spine. This can lead to complications and excessive scar tissue, increasing the risk of failed back surgery syndrome. If the entire disc is removed and a fusion is required, the surgeon will insert a metal cage and rods to stabilize the spine in that specific area.

Unlike traditional open back surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery uses a small incision to avoid unnecessary muscle damage and disruption. Through this incision, a small portion of the damaged disc is removed and pressure is relieved from the pinched nerve. If the entire damaged disc should be removed, an artificial disc will be inserted in its place, allowing the spine to maintain some mobility in that area.

Because of the minimally invasive nature of the procedures at Laser Spine Institute, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time^ with a lower risk of complication compared to patients who choose traditional open back surgery. Also, because each of our procedures are performed in an outpatient surgery center, our patients have a lower risk of infection and can return home or to their hotels within hours after surgery.^

It’s time to take the next step on your journey to pain relief. Contact Laser Spine Institute for your no-cost MRI review* today to find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.