Is herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP) surgery right for you?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a herniated nucleus pulposus (HNP), you’ve probably been researching your treatment options. While many patients find relief from conservative treatments, such as pain medication, physical therapy and other nonsurgical options, some patients may require HNP surgery. It’s important to thoroughly research and discuss with your doctor the many herniated nucleus pulposus treatment options available to you so you can make the right choice for your specific needs.

Also known as a herniated disc, HNP occurs when a disc becomes brittle with age or injury and the gel-like inner material pushes through a tear in the fibrous outer disc wall. Often, a herniated disc produces no symptoms at all and the condition can heal itself through a process known as resorption. However, when the extruded inner material compresses a nearby nerve root, symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness can arise. If several weeks of alternative and conservative treatments such as pain medicine and physical therapy prove ineffective for symptom management, surgery might become an option.

What to consider about HNP surgery

A surgeon might attempt to relieve the symptoms associated with a herniated disc by performing a highly invasive, traditional open back procedure. This type of treatment requires a large incision, at least one night of hospitalization and a recovery period that can last a year or more. It also carries several potential complications, including:

  • Fusion failure. A false joint, known as pseudoarthrosis, might develop if the bones don’t fuse as expected; additional surgery might be necessary.
  • Clots. Also known as thrombosis, steps must be taken by the surgical team to prevent serious thrombosis-related problems, including pulmonary embolism.
  • Infection. This is relatively rare, but unpredictable. If infection occurs beneath the skin, additional surgery might be required.
  • Nerve damage. A surgical instrument that bumps or cuts a nerve can cause permanent damage.

Minimally invasive fusion alternative

Laser Spine Institute performs minimally invasive spine surgery, including procedures to treat HNP, by using state-of-the-art technology to target the source of painful nerve compression directly. Contact us today to learn how our neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons may be able to help you find relief from neck and back pain.

Our caring team is happy to help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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