Ruptured Disc Surgery

Back Surgery Information

Types of Ruptured Disc Surgery

Discs are found in the spine and are responsible for keeping the spine flexible. They are like cushions between the vertebrae in the spine and therefore act as shock absorbers. Injury, disease or the natural aging process can cause a disc to protrude or rupture and this is called a ruptured disc. Other terms used to refer to a ruptured disc are herniated disc, slipped disc, bulging disc or pinched nerve.

Quite commonly, ruptured disc surgery is not necessary to ease the pain caused by the injured disc. When the pain is not debilitating, other treatment options such as rest, stretching exercises and pain medication are followed. Ruptured disc surgery is contemplated when the non-surgical methods are not effective. Ruptured disc surgery is also an option when diagnostic tests show that the best treatment option is surgery. Factors such as age, how bad the symptoms of the ruptured disc are, the effect of the symptoms on everyday life and general health are also considered. For older people, ruptured disc surgery is more likely because the chances of the ruptured disc healing without surgery are slim. If left untreated, a ruptured disc can cause irreversible nerve damage.

There are several types of ruptured disc surgery. Here is a list of those most used.

Laminotomy - This is a surgical procedure that involves the partial removal of the lamina to create more space in the affected area and consequently easing the pressure from the pinched nerve. It is not an invasive procedure. It is done under local anaesthesia and it usually an outpatient procedure.

Laminectomy - This surgery is similar to a laminotomy. However, instead of a partial removal of the lamina, this procedure involves the entire removal of the lamina to ease the pressure. The two terms, laminotomy and laminectomy are sometimes used interchangeably.

Discectomy - This is one of the most common types of ruptured disc surgery. It is also called open discectomy because it is carried out as an open surgery. During the surgery, which is done under general anaesthesia, the dislodged disc fragment is removed. This procedure has a high success rate but a potential complication of the surgery is a recurring disc rupture. This is an excellent surgery option for those who have had unsuccessful non-surgical treatments.

There are two different types of discectomy surgery. One is percutaneous discectomy, a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. This type of discectomy is not as popular as open discectomy because it is not as effective. The second type is microdiscectomy, is also not very invasive as the surgeon needs only a small incision.

Spinal fusion surgery - This type of ruptured disc surgery is carried out in cases where the ruptured disc is recurring and therefore needs to be removed.

Ruptured disc surgery should be considered as a last resort. Surgery is not without risks and sometimes more than one surgery is required. Non-surgical treatments under most circumstances should be tried first. However, surgery should not be put off for too long as the damage caused may be permanent.

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