WHAT IS A DISCECTOMY AND FUSION?
A discectomy is a surgery to eliminate pressure on a spinal nerve by removing part or all of a vertebral disc. This procedure may be performed anywhere along the spine, but it’s most often needed in the lower back or neck.
When the entire disc is removed, a spinal fusion is necessary to stabilize the vertebrae affected by the discectomy. The fusion joins the bones on both sides of the removed disc so they form one bone.
WHAT SPINE CONDITIONS ARE TREATED BY A DISCECTOMY?
Your doctor at Spinetech may recommend a discectomy to treat:
A herniated disc occurs when the inner gel-like center of the disc pushes through a weak or damaged area of the outer shell. This creates a bulge that pushes against the nearby nerves.
Vertebral discs gradually dry out and get thinner over time. Their tough outer shell also becomes damaged by wear-and-tear and injuries. These factors cause disc degeneration.
WHAT SYMPTOMS INDICATE I MIGHT NEED A DISCECTOMY?
Whether you have a herniated disc or a degenerated disc, you develop ongoing pain that’s often intense as the damage causes a pinched nerve. You may also have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in the arms or legs served by the nerve.
Damaged discs also cause spinal instability that stresses the supporting muscles. As a result, you may experience painful muscle spasms.
HOW IS DISCECTOMY AND FUSION PERFORMED?
A discectomy may be performed using standard open surgery, but whenever possible, the team at Spinetech prefers minimally invasive surgery. With this technique, they make a small incision then use retractors to gently move the muscles until they have an opening about the size of a nickel.
After your doctor has access to the spine, the damaged disc is removed. In the case of a herniated disc, your doctor may take out only the part of the disc that’s herniated, depending on the severity of the herniation. In addition to the discectomy, bone spurs that may have developed due to stress from the damaged disc are removed.
To stabilize the spine, the vertebrae on both sides of the disc are fused together. This is done by placing bone graft material between the two vertebrae. The material promotes growth from both bones so that they join to form one, strong bone.
If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain due to a disc problem, call Spinetech or book an appointment online.