Spinal Disc Surgery

Back Surgery Information

Spinal Disc Surgery

In the event that a chronic case of back pain progresses to a level that is already untreatable by conventional therapy routines and non-surgical treatment methods, spinal disc surgery oftentimes becomes the last resort for patients and doctors alike. The procedure involves cutting into the patient’s back in order to relieve the cause of the recurring pain. There are many types of spinal disc surgery depending on the end goal that the surgeon would want to achieve and each procedure must be thoroughly evaluated to check the pros and cons in support of and against performing that specific procedure.

In this post, we will briefly look at the most popular types of spinal disc surgery in order to understand the differences that highlight each procedure.

Microdiscectomy. A microdiscectomy is done when the doctor cuts into the back to decompress the affected area. This is done by shaving the herniated disc to reduce the pressure impinging on the nerves. A microdiscectomy is generally applicable to cases of herniated disc that is not severe enough to warrant full removal. However, a pre-determined risk observed in this type of spinal disc surgery lies in the fact that about 10% of patients are said to develop another case of herniated disc in the same location within a few years after the procedure, probably because the structural cause for the problem is not really corrected by the procedure. To remedy this, doctors recommend embracing major lifestyle changes in tandem with the procedure to ensure that no re-occurrence is observed.

Lumbar discectomy. This procedure is the more advanced version of microdiscectomy and is done with the goal of removing the herniated disc. In many cases, it is done in tandem with a spinal fusion surgery which seeks to reinforce the spine that is now missing a vertebra. The official medical term for spinal fusion surgery is spondylodesis and it is often done in cases where doctors doubt the likelihood of healing or when there are concerns pertaining to the mechanical integrity of the spine if two adjacent vertebrae are not fused.

Artificial disc replacement. This is an alternative spinal disc surgery type to spondylodesis and is done by inserting an artificial disc in place of the recently removed one. The artificial disc is often considered if the risks associated with standard spondylodesis are magnified such as when posture problems can exacerbate the condition of the spine because of the absence of one vertebral disc. Artificial disc replacement is a fairly new type of spinal disc surgery and studies are on-going as to the best types of material that would work as disc substitutes. Thus far, this type of spinal disc surgery carries a lot of promise as it is known to offset many of the concerns associated with spinal fusion methodologies.

There is now a fat-growing body of knowledge being accumulated in many medical centers around the world pertaining to the topic of chronic back pain and the surgical treatment options available to remedy the problem. The expectation remains upbeat that continued research in this area will create more effective and efficient surgery solutions to the worrisome trend of increasing back pain. Only time will tell if this is going to happen but for now, there is already cause for celebration given the success tied to spinal disc surgery procedures such as lumbar discectomu and microdiscectomy.