A discectomy is a surgical procedure in which a damaged portion of a herniated disc is removed. The damaged section of herniated disc can cause pain, weakness and numbness due to compression and irritation it puts on surrounding nerves. The symptoms can be present in the neck and back or may radiate down the arms and legs.
Typically discectomies are used when the symptoms involve radiating pain. Direct neck and back pain are usually treated through more conservative approaches such as physical therapy or pain medications.
The procedure is performed under a local anesthesia. A small incision is made in the center back through which the surgeon can gently dissect the muscles from the bone of the spine. Using specialized instrumentation the surgeon removes a small amount of bone and ligament from the back of the spine (known as a laminotomy). Once removed, the surgeon can see and protect the spinal nerves. The surgeon then finds the herniated disc and removes the fragments needed.
Depending on the state of the herniation, additional material may be removed to prevent further fragments from causing pain in the future. Once all the fragments are removed the incision is closed.
Conditions Treated with Discectomies
- Herniated Discs