Slipped disc treatment — minimally invasive procedures versus traditional open spine surgery

The term slipped disc is not an official medical diagnosis. It is a commonly used term that most often refers to spine conditions like herniated or ruptured discs. Spinal discs are shock absorbers located between adjacent segments of the vertebral column. These discs absorb pressure as you sit, lay, walk, stretch and lift. With increased age or overuse, a disc can weaken and bulge. Sometimes the outer fibrous ring can tear and the inner, jellylike substance pushes out into the spinal canal. When this occurs, the disc itself may become painful and tender. Inner disc material may also press on nerve roots or the spinal cord. Compressed nerves react in a variety of ways. They may signal pain, give off a pins-and-needles sensation, cause a numbing feeling or fail to provide communication to muscles, resulting in muscle weakness.

Treatment options for a slipped disc

Conservative treatment of a slipped disc, which includes medication, physical therapy and exercise, is almost always the initial approach. If conservative efforts are not successful, however, surgery may be become a serious consideration. Historically, spine surgery has meant highly invasive traditional open back surgery that carried certain risks and difficulties. However, advances in medical technology and surgical technique have made more minimally invasive procedures possible. For anyone dealing with a degenerative spine condition such as a slipped disc, it is important to fully research the benefits and potential risks of any spine surgery before consenting to an operation.

To patients exploring their options, here is an overview of some of the differences between traditional and minimally invasive approaches to spine surgery:

  • Minimally invasive outpatient procedures. Outpatient procedures, such as those performed at Laser Spine Institute, offer a more streamlined experience compared to hospital-based procedures. The entire procedure is performed through a small incision, allowing a quick opening and closing of the surgical site. The small incision also prevents unnecessary scar tissue formation and muscle disruption. Patients recover at home and recovery time and risk of complication is shorter compared to traditional open spine surgery.^
  • Traditional open spine surgery. Full open spine surgeries have been the traditional method for patients with slipped disc pain for years. During the operation, the spine is accessed through a large incision in the neck, back, abdomen or throat. The muscle disruption and blood loss that occurs requires an overnight hospital stay of one or more nights. Healing and rehabilitation from a traditional open neck or back procedure can be long and sometimes difficult.

Laser Spine Institute

Conservative treatment is often effective for relieving neck or back pain from a slipped disc. However, if your pain persists after attempting conservative treatments for a significant amount of time you should consider all of the options available to you. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn how one of our minimally invasive procedures can help you find relief from neck and back pain. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, we have been able to help more than 75,000 patients since 2005.

We are pleased to offer a free MRI review* to help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.