What back surgery for collapsed discs?

Answered by Robert Dupre

Back surgery for collapsed discs typically involves three main procedures: laminectomy, discectomy, and spinal fusion.

1. Laminectomy: This procedure involves the removal of a section of bone from one of the vertebrae in the spine. The purpose of a laminectomy is to relieve pressure on the affected nerve caused by a collapsed disc. By removing a portion of the bone, the surgeon creates more space for the nerve, reducing pain and other symptoms associated with nerve compression.

2. Discectomy: A discectomy is performed to remove a section of a damaged disc in the spine. When a disc collapses, it can bulge or herniate, putting pressure on nearby nerves and causing pain. During a discectomy, the surgeon removes the damaged portion of the disc, relieving pressure on the nerves and restoring normal spinal alignment. This procedure can be performed through traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques, depending on the severity of the condition.

3. Spinal fusion: In some cases, when a disc has collapsed to the point where it is no longer providing support and stability to the spine, a spinal fusion may be necessary. During this procedure, two or more vertebrae are joined together using a bone graft. The graft acts as a bridge between the vertebrae, promoting the growth of new bone that eventually fuses the vertebrae together. Spinal fusion helps to stabilize the spine, alleviate pain, and prevent further collapse of the discs.

It is important to note that the specific surgical approach and techniques used may vary depending on the individual case and the surgeon’s preference. The choice of procedure will be determined by the severity and location of the collapsed discs, as well as the overall condition of the patient.

It is also worth mentioning that while back surgery can provide significant relief for those with collapsed discs, it is not always the first line of treatment. Non-surgical options such as physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications are often explored initially. Surgery is typically considered when conservative measures fail to alleviate symptoms or when there is a risk of permanent nerve damage.

Personal experiences and situations will vary from person to person, and it is recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.