When a spinal disc’s internal soft material has spilled out of the harder outer shell, it can cause a feeling of constant pressure and pain. This condition has many names: herniated disc, slipped disc, ruptured disc, bulging disc, and disc prolapse – and if the pain becomes chronic and unbearable, a discectomy may be in order.
This type of spinal surgery involves removing the portion of the vertebral disc that is pressing against your nerve and causing the pain. It is most helpful if the pain is radiating down your legs or arms, but less so for relieving pain that is actually in the back or neck.
What Is a Discectomy?
A discectomy involves removing part or all of the problematic spinal disc. The surgeon usually will replace the missing piece with a prosthetic or artificial disc.
There are a number of different types of surgeons who perform discectomies and other back surgeries, but it is best to have it done by a neurosurgeon for reduced risk. Neurosurgeons are specially trained in treating central nervous system disorders (involving the brain and spinal cord), and they are especially adept at avoiding damage to sensitive nervous tissues.
A minimally invasive technique is called a microdiscectomy. In this procedure, the neurosurgeon uses a series of progressively larger tubes called dilators to tunnel through the muscles without actually cutting them. This enables the surgeon to reach the spine.
Can I Avoid Spine Surgery?
There are certain conservative options that can help curb symptoms that are caused by a herniated disc. These include physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, and the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
Steroid injections can be done to try to improve your symptoms. However, if these fail to bring relief, unbearable pain may continue to radiate into the buttocks, legs, arms, or chest until surgery is performed. A discectomy may be your best solution, and this is a much safer procedure than in previous years.
Symptoms of a Ruptured Disc
The symptoms of a herniated disc include trouble standing or walking. Surgery will be required for any of the following symptoms:
- Considerable weakness in an area affected by the herniated disc
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Tingling or numbness in both legs
- Weakness or numbness in the buttocks, genitals, and both legs
Spine Surgeons in Colorado
If you or someone you know has radiating pains that start in the back, or if you have unexplained numbness or odd pains, contact our team at Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery. We specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery, so you will spend less time in the hospital and more time enjoying life afterward.
Our surgeons have decades of success in back surgery and discectomy procedures, and we frequently treat degenerative disc disease with our revolutionary implants – which eliminates the need for spinal fusion surgery. We have also successfully treated many brain tumors, spine tumors, and cases of nerve pain.
Call us today to schedule a consultation with a caring neurosurgeon at (303) 790-1800, or request an appointment online now. We look forward to helping you get back to the active lifestyle you love!