Herniated Disc Surgery

Herniated discs have many different names: Herniated, extruded, ruptured, torn, popped, slipped, or cracked.  They all essentially mean the same thing–a condition where the strong ligaments around the outer margin of the disc known as the annulus tears and the softer internal disc material comes out.  If ithe inner material of the disc moves backwards or to the sides, it can cause leg pain sometimes with minimal back pain known as radiculopathy.

Most disc herniations (80-90%) will improve without surgery and patients are encouraged to attempt conservative, non-surgical care including steroids, anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen, steroid injections, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.

When pain is too severe, weakness progresses, if severe compression affects a large number of nerves, or when symptoms fail to improve, surgery is an option.

MRI Showing a Large Herniated Disc

The nerves are very compressed by the fragment but it may still resolve and dissapear over time.

Minimally Invasive Disc Surgery

Like most procedures offered at Modern Spine, disc surgery, or discectomy, is now performed almost universally in a tubular, minimally invasive fashion in my practice.  This a modern form of discectomy that allows for muscle sparing and less overall surgical risk.

The surgery is performed through a tube and allows for removal of the herniated fragment of disc that has moved outside of the disc space. In some cases, a repair of the tear is performed known as an annular repair. The surgery takes less than 1 hour and is usually outpatient. After surgery, patients need to restrict activities to reduce the risk of herniation.

Open disc surgery conversely can use a small incision but the approach causes damage to the muscles which may be permanent due to the stripping of the muscles off the spine.  There are also increased risks of infection and spinal fluid leak with traditional, open surgery.  

A microscope is used to help see and work carefully around the nerves.
The Modern Spine Approach

I was offered a microdiscectomy. What is that?

Microdiscectomy sounds similar to a minimally invasive discectomy but the difference is in the approach.  Microdiscectomy uses traditional open techniques to expose the bone and in doing so can cause permanent muscle trauma.  

Minimally Invasive Innovation

The team at Modern Spine not only uses the minimally invasive approach routinely.  We also helped pioneer the technology and have helped it through its evolution.  The latest microinstruments and tools for this muscle sparing operation were developed with the cooperation of Modern Spine, and will be used to help you.  That is the difference we offer.  Experience.  Knowledge.  Innovation.  These three things will help patients recover from surgery and get back out into the world.  

Next Steps

If you are experiencing nerve pain and were diagnosed with a herniated disc or if you need a second opinion, ask for a referral from your primary doctor, chiropracter, rehab doctor, or pain physician or just reach out to Modern Spine using the Consult Today button below or Contact Us.  We take self referrals and second opinions and consider ourselves honored if you choose us.