The spinal cord is the backbone of our day-to-day lives, both figuratively and literally. Unfortunately, it’s susceptible to wear and tear, which leads to pain, injury, and potential disability. You should never ignore spinal problems as they may have severe consequences if left unaddressed.
Back injuries and conditions can sometimes be addressed with conservative treatments. So when will a neurosurgeon recommend a microdiscectomy? Let’s find out.
What Is A Discectomy?
Due to trauma, injury, or aging, the discs in your spine may deteriorate and weaken. If this happens, the soft, jellylike inner part of a disc may bulge out. This is known as a bulging or herniated disc. As the inner portion presses on nerves in your spine, it causes symptoms such as pain and weakness. These symptoms can occur in any part of your body, most commonly the back.
Open lumbar discectomy involves opening the patient’s back to reveal the spine and remove the inflamed disc. Your surgeon will then shrink or remove the affected disc. Removal of the disc relieves the pain and pressure on your spine.
A micro lumbar discectomy, also called microdiscectomy, is a less invasive approach. The incisions your doctor will make will be at most two inches long, and only over the affected disc. This incision lets your doctor work on the affected disc without opening up your back too much.
When Should I Get A Microdiscectomy?
Surgery has risks, which is why it’s typically a last resort. However, there are many reasons why your doctor or neurosurgeon will recommend a microdiscectomy.
When Conservative Methods Do Not Work Anymore
Not all back pain and problems need surgery. Conservative treatment methods may be enough depending on the severity of your condition. Your doctor will likely recommend one or more of the following treatments before suggesting surgery:
- Medication — Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other medications can help relax your muscles, relieve pain, and prevent back spasms.
- Corticosteroid injections — Injection of medicine into the affected area may alleviate pain and decrease swelling.
- Manipulation — Chiropractic adjustment or osteopathic manipulation is a hands-on manipulation treatment that helps improve circulation, decrease inflammation, and relieve pain.
- Therapy — Physical therapy can improve mobility and flexibility. Strengthening exercises can also help your back muscles stabilize the spine.
Even minimally invasive surgeries have risks. It’s only when conservative treatments fail that your neurosurgeon will recommend surgery.
When You Have Severe Symptoms Or Conditions
There can be times when surgery will be the first option your doctor will recommend for treatment. Your symptoms may be life-threatening or prevent you from functioning normally. A microdiscectomy is also a good option for patients who might have the following symptoms:
- Debilitating or chronic pain
- Numbness and tingling on the back
- Bladder or bowel problems
- Difficulty walking or standing
Your sciatic nerve is an important nerve that runs from your lower back and down your legs. Sciatica is a disease affecting the sciatic nerve. Pain is the most common symptom in sciatica patients. Patients with sciatica might also experience difficulty controlling their bladder or bowels and may have numbness.
People usually get sciatica as a result of a herniated disc. Most cases of sciatica can be resolved by conservative treatment or nerve decompression. However, in extreme cases, microdiscectomy is also a potential treatment for sciatica.
Saddle anesthesia is a disease affecting your inner thighs, buttocks, and crotch. Symptoms typically include numbness. Like sciatica, saddle anesthesia is a complication associated with a herniated disc.
Benefits Of Microdiscectomy
As a minimally invasive spinal surgery, a microdiscectomy has many benefits:
- Fewer complication risks
- Decreased operating time
- Decreased recovery times
- Minimized damage to surrounding tissues
Microdiscectomy is a procedure with a very high success rate. According to recent studies, about 84% of 39,000 patients who had a microdiscectomy reported long-term success.
Experienced Neurosurgeons in Colorado
Back pain can be disruptive to your everyday life, especially if it becomes chronic or severe. It’s best not to ignore it when it develops, as the consequences of untreated back pain may be severe. There’s no telling whether the pain you’re experiencing is minor, so it’s best to get checked immediately.
Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery has had over a thousand great patient reviews since 2003. We provide patients with the highest quality healthcare for neurological, spinal, and orthopedic concerns.
Our board-certified medical professionals use innovative, cutting-edge techniques to ensure the success of your procedure. You can expect us to go above and beyond to give you appropriate and effective treatment.
Learn more by calling our office at (303) 790-1800 or secure an appointment through our online form.