Torn disc surgery — risks and benefits of surgical options

A torn disc, referred to as a herniated disc, occurs when a disc is compressed between two vertebrae, causing it to flatten and expand. As the disc expands, the tough outer layer may become stressed and break open, allowing the inner fluid of the disc to expand into the spinal canal. If the inner fluid from the disc impacts a nerve root in the spinal canal, the patient may experience symptoms of chronic pain, limited mobility, radiating pain from the back into the associated extremity and sharp pain during certain movements.

If you are suffering from pain and limited mobility caused by a torn disc, you may find pain relief through torn disc surgery. Torn disc surgery is often recommended by a physician after several months of conservative treatment, such as stretches and exercises, have not provided substantial pain relief. Before you determine whether or not torn disc surgery is right for you, we encourage you to reach out to our Care Team at Laser Spine Institute to learn about all of the treatment options available to you. Our goal is to educate each patient about the risks and benefits of each spine procedure so each patient can make the best decision about his or her spine care needs.

There are many surgery options to treat a torn disc in the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) spine. Take a moment to research these options and contact our Care Team with any questions.

Risks of traditional open back surgery to treat a torn disc

Traditional open back surgery is the most common association for patients thinking about back surgery. This type of surgery is performed in a hospital setting and, due to the high risk nature of this procedure, requires patients to stay hospitalized for several days following the surgery.

The two main components of traditional open back surgery that increase the risk of infection and failure are the large initial incision in the back (4–6 inches) and the cutting and tearing of the muscles surrounding the spine. Additional risks associated with traditional open back torn disc surgery include:

  • Failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS)
  • Pain transference along the spine or postoperative pain
  • Chance for infection or inflammation
  • Potential scar tissue buildup
  • Lengthy rehabilitation and recovery

Minimally invasive torn disc surgery

A minimally invasive spine procedure at Laser Spine Institute, on the other hand, is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures are performed through a small incision of about 1-inch in length and do not include the disruption of the muscles or soft tissues surrounding the spine. As a result, our minimally invasive procedure is more precise and requires a shorter recovery period^ than traditional open back surgery.

We offer both minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery to treat a torn disc in the lumbar or cervical spine. The type of surgery will be discussed with each patient after the surgeon or medical professional fully reviews the patient’s MRI or CT scan in addition to the physical evaluation. The type of surgery performed will also be dependent on the location and severity of the torn disc.

To learn more about all of your torn disc procedure options, and for your MRI or CT scan review, contact Laser Spine Institute today.