What are the primary goals of sciatica surgery?

The main goal of sciatica surgery is to decompress the sciatic nerve within the lumbar region of the spine to relieve the painful symptoms associated with this condition. Conditions like herniated discs and other degenerative spine conditions can cause this nerve to become compressed, which, in turn, leads to lower back pain, leg pain and a number of other symptoms.

If sciatica is having a negative effect on your life, taking you away from the people and activities you love, you may be wondering if surgery is right for you. By learning more about this condition as well as the different approaches to spine surgery, you can make a more informed and confident decision about your care.

Sciatica explained

The sciatic nerve is the longest, widest nerve in the body. Beginning in the lumbar (lower) region of the spinal column, this nerve travels through the buttocks, hips, legs and feet before ending near the toes. This nerve provides sensory and motor information for many muscles in the lower body, making the sciatic nerve particularly important. Sciatica occurs when the nerve becomes irritated or compressed, which interferes with the regular function of the nerve and can lead to symptoms like shooting pains in the hips and buttocks, weakness and cramping in the leg and tingling and numbness throughout the lower body.

Approaches to sciatica surgery

Sciatica surgery is almost always considered the treatment of last resort when more conservative treatments don’t relieve symptoms. Generally speaking, the decompression of the sciatic nerve may be attempted two different ways:

  • Traditional open spine surgery. The surgeon accesses the spine to decompress the sciatic nerve through a large incision in the lower back. In some cases, full removal of a spinal disc and fusion of the surrounding vertebrae may be required. Traditional open spine approaches typically involve hospitalization, risk of complications and a long recovery period.
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery. These procedures use advances in medical technology to access the spine with muscle-sparing techniques and a smaller incision. This allows for spine surgery to be performed on an outpatient basis with less risk of complication and a shorter recovery period compared to traditional procedures.

Laser Spine Institute

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Since 2005, our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from conditions like sciatica. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to our caring and dedicated team today.

We’re happy to offer a review of your MRI or CT scan at no cost* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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