Herniated Disc Surgery

Traditional open neck or open back herniated disc surgery is often recommended for patients who have not achieved successful neck or back pain relief through conservative treatments for a herniated or bulging disc.

Open back herniated disc surgery

There are many open back herniated disc surgery options available, and virtually all of them require hospital admission. During open spine disc surgery, a surgeon makes an incision in the neck, throat, back or abdomen so that he or she can expose the problematic area of the spine and then remove the herniated disc material that is pressing on nerve tissue in the spinal column.

When making the large incision that is required for traditional herniated disc surgery, a surgeon often has to cut through muscle, bone and other tissue to reach the affected disc. If the surgeon is accessing the disc from the front of the body, the surgeon will have to push aside major organs to reach the spine.

While traditional open spine surgery is successful in some cases, there are risks and potential complications associated with these major operations, such as:

  • Permanent muscle damage
  • Infection
  • Excessive scar tissue formation as the result of a large incision, which can be unsightly and also may lead to new neck or back pain
  • A lengthy recovery period ranging from weeks to months, and possibly years
  • No guarantee that back or neck pain will be alleviated after major surgery and a lengthy recovery period

Minimally invasive herniated disc surgery

There is another treatment option, though. You may be a candidate for a minimally invasive decompression procedure at Laser Spine Institute as an alternative to traditional open herniated disc surgery.

One of our minimally invasive decompression procedures is a discectomy. Like all of our other procedures, our discectomy surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis. During a discectomy, a surgeon makes a small incision and uses a small camera inserted into the body. Using a laser and other microsurgical tools, the surgeon removes herniated disc material with little to no disruption of surrounding muscle. After surgery, many Laser Spine Institute patients feel immediate relief from their herniated disc pain. Most patients are able to leave our facility within a few hours after the procedure and return within days for a postoperative consultation.

In addition to discectomy surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers several other minimally invasive decompression surgeries that are designed to address different types of spinal deterioration that could be contributing to a patient’s pain. Our minimally invasive decompression surgeries include:

  • Laminotomy – A laminotomy is intended to alleviate symptoms that stem from spinal cord impingement or nerve root irritation. During this outpatient surgery, a portion of a vertebral arch, which is known as a lamina, is carefully removed to alleviate pressure on the surrounding nerve infrastructure by herniated disc material, osteophytes or other anatomical abnormalities in the spine.
  • Foraminotomy – This procedure is often recommended to patients who have been diagnosed with foraminal stenosis, a situation where the narrow passageways that normally allow nerve roots to enter and exit the spinal column have become clogged with anatomical debris such as a herniated disc or bone spur. During a foraminotomy, the surgeon uses small tools to clean out the blockage to relieve pressure on a compressed nerve.
  • Facet thermal ablation – A facet thermal ablation is a minimally invasive surgery that can be recommended when a patient experiences arthritic pain in a vertebral joint. Using state-of-the-art laser technology, a surgeon carefully deadens the nerve that innervates the arthritic joint, effectively removing the body’s ability to detect pain in the area.

Additionally, Laser Spine Institute might recommend a minimally invasive stabilization procedure when spinal deterioration is extensive or the overall stability of the segment is at risk. This approach to herniated disc surgery tends to be reserved for situations when no other treatment has proven effective or can offer the patient the results he or she expects. Specifically, we offer several different approaches to minimally invasive stabilization, including decompression with an Interlaminar Stabilization™ device, anterior cervical discectomy fusion, cervical disc replacement, transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion, lateral lumbar interbody fusion, SI joint fusion and posterior cervical fusion.

For more information about our alternatives to open back herniated disc surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to discuss treatment options, and to receive a review of your MRI scan.

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