What is Discectomy?
A discectomy is a procedure that removes damaged part of a herniated disc in your spine. A herniated disc is a condition that can happen anywhere on your spine. It most often is present on the lower back. It is when the rubbery gel-like part of your spine (between the bones) slips, protrudes or bulges out. The disc can cause issues with the nerves in your spine as they can be impacted and irritated by a herniated disk. The pain that comes from it can radiate down your arms or legs. This is one of the most common causes of lower back pain and sciatica.
Who is a Good Candidate for the Procedure?
The procedure is less helpful for treating actual back or neck pain. This is to relieve the pressure placed on your spine from the herniated disc. Most people who have back and neck pain can be treated more conservatively. They may be able to find relief from physical therapy or pain management. If the conservative treatments do not improve your condition or if your symptoms have worsened, a discectomy may be right for you. The procedure is minimally invasive and is highly effective.
The procedure is done to relieve pressure from a herniated disk, as it can cause a lot of issues with your back. Below you will find some common symptoms that indicate that a discectomy may be right for you.
- Issues with standing or walking due to nerve weakness
- Pain radiating from your buttocks, arms, legs, or chest
- Pain that is too difficult to manage
- Conservative treatments have failed after months
How is a Discectomy Performed?
Before surgery, you will need to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yashar. He will review your medical history, discuss any prior operations, and go over any relevant family history. At that appointment, treatment options will be discussed. If the procedure is right for you, you will need to prepare for and schedule your surgery. Dr. Yashar is very hands-on and is with you every step of the way.
Before surgery, you will likely need to avoid eating and drinking as you will be under general anesthesia. You will also need to stop taking or adjust the dosing of certain medications. This will all be covered with Dr. Yashar, and he will provide you with instructions specifically for you. The treatment is safe and effective, with minimal associated risks.
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Minimally Invasive Discectomy
Dr. Yashar prefers minimally invasive surgery. While you will be completely asleep due to the anesthesia, the minimally invasive nature helps with recovery and healing. Small incisions will be made in your back to reach your spine. Some bone and ligaments may be removed to get closer access to the herniated disc. Once the affected area is accessed, the part that is pinching the nerve is removed. This will relieve the pressure and leave the rest of the disc intact. If the entire portion needs to be removed, it will be replaced. The surrounding vertebrae are then fused to ensure spinal stability.
Depending on your specific condition, you may be able to go home the same day. A hospital stay is only necessary if you need to be monitored by medical professionals. You can generally return to work within two to six weeks, depending on how much activity the job requires.
This procedure can help with the pressure caused by the disc, but it is not a permanent fix. It doesn't reverse the process that created the herniated disc in the first place. Due to this, it is essential to maintain a healthy weight. This includes having a healthy diet and exercising regularly. It would help if you also lifted adequately and not put any unnecessary pressure on your back.