If conservative treatments to alleviate the symptoms of a herniated disc are
unsuccessful, a surgical procedure known as a “discectomy” may be recommended.
When a disc becomes herniated, a portion of the disc is dislocated and may
impinge upon the adjacent nerve roots or the spinal cord. This can cause pain,
numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness to develop. Depending upon the location of
the damage disc, symptoms can affect the neck or back and may radiate down the
arms or legs.
A discectomy may be indicated in the presence of:
- Back or extremity pain, weakness, and/or numbness that limits daily activities and has not responded to a course of non-surgical conservative therapy
- Problems with walking and performing essential tasks
- mpaired bowel and/or bladder function
During a discectomy the surgeon will remove the fragment of the spinal disc that
is causing pressure on the nerve. The goal in removing the impinging part of the
herniated disc is to provide relief from the symptoms that have developed as well as
to facilitate a restoration of function.
The doctor will discuss which type of discectomy procedure best addresses the needs of the case. In some situations additional procedures may be performed to further relieve pressure and to provide stability.