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Herniated Disc Surgery, When is it the Right Procedure?

Author:  
Deuk Spine Web Team
An expert in all things spine, Dr. Deukmedjain is a board certified neurosurgeon who has performed thousands of minimally invasive surgeries and procedures including the revolutionary Deuk Laser Disc Repair and the Deuk Spinal Fusion. 

A disc is located between each vertebra (bones in your spine) and the vertebrae. These discs are shock absorbers that cushion your bones. A herniated disk is one that pushes into your spinal canal beyond the capsule it contains. A herniated disc can occur anywhere on your spine, including your neck. However, it is most commonly to be found in the lower back (lumbar vertebrae).

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms outlined in this article, it’s time to get a FREE Consultation and MRI Review with Deuk Spine Institute. We will help relieve your pain and get you back to living your life without limitations!

A herniated disk could occur from lifting things in an incorrect way or twisting your spine suddenly. You might also be overweight or experience degeneration from aging or disease. Although a herniated disk doesn’t always cause discomfort or pain, if it presses against a nerve in the lower back, you might feel pain in your back or legs (sciatica). A herniated disk in the neck can cause pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms. A herniated disk can cause pain and tingling as well as weakness.

The majority of spine surgery is not recommended until all options have been exhausted. These options include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Pain relievers
  • Physical therapy or rehabilitation
  • steroid injections
  • Rest

These options may not be effective if you are suffering from persistent pain that is affecting your quality of life.

Before surgery

If you are considering surgery, ensure that you consult a spine surgeon (orthopedic, or neurosurgical). Also, get a second opinion. Your surgeon may order imaging tests before recommending a particular surgical procedure.

  • X-ray: Clear images of your vertebrae, joints, and bones are taken by an X-ray.
  • Computed Tomography: These scans offer more detailed images of the spine canal and surrounding structures.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), also known as magnetic resonance imaging, is a 3-D image of the spine and nerve roots. It can also show the discs.
  • Electromyography and nerve conduction Studies (EMG/NCS), which measure electrical impulses in nerves and muscles.

These tests will allow your surgeon to determine the most appropriate type of surgery. Your age, location, and overall health are all important factors.

Types and methods of herniated disc surgery

Your surgeon will recommend one of the following surgeries after gathering all information. Sometimes, multiple surgeries may be required.

Laminotomy/laminectomy

A laminotomy is a procedure where a surgeon creates an opening in your vertebral arch (lamina), to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. Sometimes, a microscope is used to aid in the procedure. The lamina may be removed if necessary. This procedure is known as a laminectomy.

Discectomy/microdiscectomy

The most common procedure for a herniated disc in your lumbar region is a discectomy. This procedure removes the part of the disc that is putting pressure on the nerve root. Sometimes, the entire disc may be removed.

An incision will be made in your neck or back to access the disc. To achieve the same results, your surgeon may use a smaller incision or special instruments. This is a newer and less invasive procedure called a microdiscectomy. These procedures are sometimes performed, outpatient.

Artificial disc surgery

You will be anesthetized for artificial disc surgery. If the problem is located in the lower back, this surgery is typically performed on a single disc. This surgery is not recommended if you have osteoporosis, arthritis, or if more than one disc has degeneration.

The surgeon will make an incision in your abdomen to perform this procedure. The surgeon replaces the damaged disc with an artificial one made of metal and plastic. The hospital may require you to remain there for several days, but at the Deuk Spine Institute your recovery time will be faster than anywhere else — truly positioning them as the leaders of their respective industry and in a class of their own.

Spinal Fusion

For spinal Fusion, general anesthesia is necessary. This procedure involves permanently fusing two or more vertebrae together. This can be done using bone grafts taken from another area of the body or from a donor. You may also need to use rods and screws made of metal or plastic that provide additional support. This will permanently immobilize the affected area of your spine.

What to Expect After Surgery

There are risks associated with all surgeries, including nerve damage, infection, bleeding, and bleeding. It is possible for the disc to rupture again if it is not removed. Degenerative disc disease can lead to problems with your other discs.

A certain degree of stiffness can be expected after spinal fusion surgery. This stiffness may last a lifetime. Following your surgery, you will be given detailed instructions on how to return to normal activities and when to start exercising. Sometimes, physical therapy is necessary. Follow your doctor’s advice.

Although most people are able to recover from disc surgery well, each case is different. The following factors will affect your outlook:

  • Details of your surgery
  • Any complications that you might have encountered
  • Your general health

The spine is composed of a series of bones that are separated by intervertebral disks. These discs allow the spine and spinal column to move together, but they also serve as shock absorbers. The annulus fibrosus is the outer ring of fibers. The nucleus pulposus is the soft, gel-like middle. The disc is held in place by the outer ring of thick fibers that attach to the vertebrae.

When the disc’s outer fibers are damaged or ripped, the gel-like center moves out of its normal location and into the narrow space of the spinal canal. The disc can compress nearby spinal nerves, or exert pressure on them, and the gel-like center releases chemicals that can cause nerve inflammation. Although herniated discs can happen in any part of the spine, they are more common in the lower back.

Signs to Look For

A herniated disk can press on a nerve causing pain, numbness, and/or weakness. Mild pain, on the other hand, may not be a sign of a herniated disk pressing on a nerve. The severity and location of the herniation will determine the symptoms.

The symptoms of a herniated disc in the lower back are:

  • Lower back pain can range from mild to severe. Movement can aggravate the pain.
  • Muscle spasm
  • Sciatica (painful, burning, tingling, or numbness that extends beyond the buttock to the leg or foot).
  • Leg weakness or loss

A cervical (neck) herniated disk may present with the following symptoms:

  • A mild to severe pain between the shoulder blades or in the neck. Movement can aggravate pain.
  • Radiating pain that radiates into the arm, hand, or fingers. This is known as Radiculopathy.
  • Tingling or numbness in the arm or shoulder.

Causes

Most herniated discs occur in middle-aged and young adults. The following factors can increase the risk of disc herniation:

  • Excessive force on the spine, i.e. falling or collision injuries
  • Repetitive lifting and twisting that is incorrect or repetitive
  • Aging: discs slowly dry out, losing strength.
  • Obesity, inactivity, and tobacco use

Treatment

Some disc herniations don’t require surgery. The pain associated with a herniated disc may disappear in 4-6 months. Non-surgical remedies to relieve your symptoms are available. These include:

  • A variety of medications are available to relieve acute pain. These include an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling and pain, muscle relaxants, and narcotics for pain relief.
  • The injection of epidural corticosteroid(s) can be used to relieve severe radiating pain in the arm and leg.
  • Physical therapy can include stretching, massage, therapeutic exercise, bracing, or traction to reduce pain and improve function.

 

The Deuk Spine Institute encourages and welcomes you to contact us today regarding any questions or concerns you may have about your current situation… 

​​If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the preceding symptoms outlined in this article, it’s time to get a FREE Consultation and MRI Review with the Deuk Spine Institute. We can help relieve your pain and get you back to living life without limitations!

 

Cure your back and neck pain once and for all.

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