The spine is composed of a number of rubbery cushions called discs. When one of the discs becomes damaged, allowing the gel-like center to escape, the disc is said to be herniated. Herniated discs can affect the surrounding spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness and weakness in the limbs.
If you or someone you know has suffered from a herniated disc, you know how difficult it can make everyday activities. The doctors at La Peer Health Systems’ Spine Center of Excellence are committed to offering expert diagnosis and treatment for herniated discs and other spine conditions including a procedure known as discectomy of herniated discs.
Diagnosing Herniated Discs
Occurring in both the neck (cervical spine) and lower back (lumbar spine), herniated discs can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort. Although herniated discs occasionally result from a fall or trauma to the back, the most common cause is the natural aging process. As people age, their spinal discs lose water content and become more susceptible to tears and ruptures.
The doctors at the Spine Center of Excellence will likely order imaging tests like CTs or MRIs diagnose a herniated disc. Although X-rays do not identify herniated discs, our spine surgeons may recommend them to rule out other back pain conditions like spinal alignment, broken bones and infections. If our specialists determine that a herniated disc is the cause of your back pain, they may recommend a discectomy of the herniated disc.
Who Needs a Discectomy?
People with a herniated disc may not immediately realize they are suffering from this condition. However, if you are experiencing back or neck pain that travels down your arm or leg, or if you notice numbness, tingling or a weak sensation in your limbs, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention.
What is a Discectomy?
A discectomy is a procedure used to remove a herniated disc from the spinal canal and alleviate the nerve pressure. Our spine surgery experts perform discectomies to remove cervical, thoracic and lumbar discs that have become herniated. A traditional discectomy is an open surgery requiring patients to be under general anesthesia. The specialists at the Spine Center of Excellence can perform less-invasive discectomy with a procedure known as microdiscectomy.
Our doctors perform microdiscectomy using a special microscope enabling them to view the disc and surrounding spinal nerves. Using cutting-edge tools, they create an incision that is smaller than the one required for a regular discectomy. During the procedure, our spine surgeons will remove the portion of the disc that is intruding on the spinal canal. They will also take out any loose disc fragments. Many patients experience fast relief with minimal soreness after undergoing a microdiscectomy.
After undergoing a discectomy at the Spine Center of Excellence, you will be required to remain at our Beverly Hills facility for a few hours for observation. Your surgeon may advise you to stand and walk around shortly after having the procedure. Following your doctor’s instructions can help ensure a speedy recovery. In general, most patients are able to return to work within a couple weeks of having a discectomy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the advantages of discectomy over other forms of treatment for a herniated disc?
A: Discectomy is a great option for people with severe back pain and numbness or weakness in their arms and legs. People who have surgery for herniated discs may also enjoy longer-lasting relief than those who’ve undergone other forms of therapy.
Q: What are the most common discectomy risks?
A: Although it is generally regarded as a safe procedure, risks associated with discectomy include infection, side effects from anesthesia and a small chance of injury to the spinal nerves.
Q: When should I see a doctor about back and spine pain?
A: Seek medical attention if you are experiencing severe pain or numbness in your arms and legs.
Q: What will I have to do to prepare for spine surgery?
A: You will likely need to avoid eating and drinking for a period of time before undergoing surgery. Our spine specialists will provide you with specific pre-operative instructions.
Q: How soon can I return to normal activities after discectomy?
A: You can resume most normal activity within a few weeks of having surgery. However, your doctor may tell you to avoid lifting, bending and stooping for a period of time after discectomy.
Contact Our Experts
If you’re suffering from a herniated disc or other back condition, don’t hesitate to contact the doctors at La Peer’s Spine Center of Excellence. Call (888) 564-1419 or visit us online to schedule an appointment.
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