Traditional open-neck or open-back disc surgery is often recommended for patients who have not achieved successful back or neck pain relief through conservative treatments for a herniated or bulging disc.
Open-Back Herniated Disc Surgery
There are several open-back disc surgery options available, and virtually all of them last several hours, so hospital admission and the use of general anesthesia are typically required. During disc surgery, a physician makes an incision in the neck, back, or abdomen so that he or she can see and remove the herniated disc material that is pressing on nerve tissue in your spinal column.
When making the large incision often required for traditional disc surgery, a surgeon often has to cut through muscle, bone, and other tissue to reach the affected disc. If the surgeon is accessing the disc from the front of the body, the surgeon will have to push aside major organs to reach the spine.
While traditional disc surgery is successful in some cases, there are risks and potential complications associated with these major operations, such as:
- Risks associated with general anesthesia such as heart attack and stroke (although these are rare)
- The need for hardware and spinal fusion to stabilize the spine after diseased spinal components are removed
- Excessive scar tissue formation as the result of a large incision, which can be unsightly and also may lead to new back or neck pain
- A lengthy recovery period ranging from weeks to months, and possibly years
- No guarantee that back or neck pain will be alleviated after major surgery and a lengthy recovery period
Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery
Fortunately, there’s another treatment option. You can elect a minimally invasive endoscopic procedure at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) as an alternative to traditional herniated disc surgery.
An example of one of our revolutionary procedures is our percutaneous endoscopic discectomy. Like all of our other procedures, our gentle herniated disc treatments are performed on an outpatient basis with deep IV sedation and local anesthesia. During our laser-assisted procedures, a surgeon makes a tiny incision and uses a small camera inserted into the spine through a tube. Using a laser and microsurgical tools, the surgeon removes herniated disc material with little to no disruption of surrounding tissue. LSI patients often feel relief from their herniated disc pain as the procedure is taking place. Most patients walk away from our facility within a few hours after the procedure and return the next day for a post-operative consultation before clearance to go home.
For more information about this alternative to open-back disc surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to discuss treatment options, and receive a review on your MRI or CT scan free of charge.