When patients are experiencing extreme pain, numbness or dysfunction in their neck or back, a discectomy may become a suitable treatment option for them. Though surgical procedures should be considered as a last resort for patients experiencing neck or back pain, at times surgery becomes a necessary option if conservative treatments (such as medication, exercise, physical therapy, etc.) have failed to produce effective results. When a disc is bulging or herniated, the disc material may press up against the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing the patient incredible pain and discomfort. A discectomy is a procedure that, traditionally, was conducted through a large incision. The surgeon would remove the necessary bone material in order to access the spine, removing most of or the entire disc causing the patient’s pain. The procedure generally requires 2 to 5 days in the hospital after surgery, as well as months of recovery postoperatively.

Conditions treated by discectomy

Intervertebral discs are made up of approximately 90 percent water. During the aging process, these discs begin to lose a portion of that water and shrink in size. This shrinkage is common among adults, and is known as degenerative disc disease. As the discs decrease in size, the surrounding vertebrae become closer together, resulting in less space for the nerves to travel. In some people this causes nerve compression, resulting in pain in the neck or back. However, the main reason for a discectomy is found when the disc shrinks, moves out of its general locality and then presses upon the spinal cord or surrounding nerves. In a discectomy, a surgeon will remove the area of the disc causing this issue.

Minimally invasive option

Though the traditional approach to a discectomy required a large incision and highly invasive approach, Laser Spine Institute offers a minimally invasive version of the procedure, offering patients a safer and more effective alternative. Laser Spine Institute’s discectomy involves the highly trained surgeon removing a portion of the herniated or bulging disc that is pressing upon the spinal cord or nerve root, subsequently diminishing the patient’s overall pain, without causing instability. This outpatient procedure eliminates hospital-associated costs and helps patients get back to their lives faster.

For more information, or to submit your most recent MRI or CT scan for review to determine if you may be a candidate, contact Laser Spine Institute today.