Herniated Discs: What To Do When Conservative Methods Fail

Treatments for Herniated Discs

Studies have shown that up to 90% of people who experience a herniated disc can find relief through chiropractic manipulation. However, for the remaining 10%, the only option for relieving the severe pain that accompanies spinal disc herniation is surgery. Fortunately, there are a number of safe and effective surgical options when it comes to treating herniated discs.

Types of Spinal Surgery to Consider

Depending on the location of the herniated disc and the severity of the defect, Los Angeles spine surgeons have several options they can choose from in order to relieve the pressure, inflammation and pain associated with a herniated disc. In some cases, simply removing the gel-like substance that has leaked from a ruptured disc is enough while in other cases completely removing the disc and fusing the bones may be required. There are four main surgical procedures used to treat herniated disc, including:

  1. Discectomy.

    A discectomy refers to a procedure used to remove a portion of the vertebrae and disc where the herniation has occurred. By removing these structures, the pressure on the nerves is reduced and pain is alleviated. There are two main procedures used in this common spinal surgery option:

    • During an open discectomy, the surgeon creates in incision in the back over the affected vertebrae and strips the muscle tissue away in order to expose the spinal column. The defective bone, disc and gel are then removed and the surgical site is closed.
    • In a microdiscectomy, a smaller incision is made and the muscle tissue remains intact. The surgeon uses specialized tools to remove the defective disc fragments. Because a microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive spinal surgery, the patient will generally spend less time in the operating room, a faster recovery time and a reduced risk of post surgical complications.
  1. Laminectomy.

    A laminectomy is a procedure in which surgeons remove the bone that is constricting the canal space in the spine. This is the most appropriate choice for patients who experience back as well as leg pain that is caused by compressed nerves.

  1. Fusion.

    When a herniated disc is more severe or has happened several times, many surgeons will opt to fuse the vertebrae together. During a fusion, the bones in the affected area are permanently connected in order to address the current herniated disc and associated pain, as well as reduce the chances of a future problem.

  1. Artificial discs.

    A newer technique for treated herniated disc is to replace damaged discs in the back with artificial discs. The surgeon will remove the damaged disc in its entirety and implant a new, artificial disc in the space between the affected vertebrae. Click here to learn more about lumbar artificial disc replacement.

Surgery isn’t the right option for all patients, and some surgeries are more appropriate for certain symptoms and individual needs. If you are considering surgery after conservative methods have failed, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration today at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation with one of our professional and trusted spinal surgeons.