Surgery for a herniated disc

Many patients consider surgery for a herniated disc because the tingling, numbness and radiating pain that accompany a herniated disc can be so debilitating. However, the choice to undergo a surgical procedure is a daunting prospect for many patients, particularly when it’s surgery on the spine.

A herniated disc is one of the intervertebral discs (the cartilaginous pads between each vertebra) that has torn and is leaking its inner, gel-like disc material into the spinal canal. The leaking itself is not typically the cause of pain — rather, the fluid blocks neural pathways and constricts nerves. These pathways are called foramina (in the plural sense), and there is one foramen that resides on either side of each vertebra. When these openings narrow, the spinal nerves cannot function or they can become inflamed. It is this neural pressure that triggers symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness and weakness.

Spinal fusion, also known as spondylodesis, is a common surgery for a herniated disc. This is a surgery that limits mobility in order to try to stabilize a weakened spine. Diseased discs are removed, and then bone grafts are used to fasten two or more vertebrae together. The idea is that the vertebrae will then become one long, reinforced unit by growing together via an osteoblastic (bone growth) process. In theory, the stabilized vertebrae will not be subjected to the same daily wear and tear as they did when they were free-moving, separate units. However, when spinal fusion is performed as a traditional open back surgery, the invasive nature of this surgery can result in scarring, nerve damage and a recovery period of up to a year.

If you are considering spinal fusion as a procedure for a herniated disc, Laser Spine Institute can introduce you to some minimally invasive alternatives that employ advanced technology. By utilizing a small incision, our minimally invasive techniques spare the muscles from being cut or torn. This can positively affect the recovery time needed, and studies have shown it reduces the risk of infection and other postoperative complications. Laser Spine Institute has helped tens of thousands of patients find relief from pain through our minimally invasive outpatients procedures.

Call now for your MRI review to see if you are a candidate for surgery at Laser Spine Institute.