A herniated disc is a condition that occurs when a damaged spinal cord disc presses on the adjacent nerve root. This causes numbness, pain, and sometimes tingling in your back and legs. There are different types of herniated disc surgery, including microdiscectomy, also known as minimally invasive surgery and laminectomy. These procedures help relieve pain, discomfort, and other symptoms caused by a herniated disc.
The minimally invasive surgery involves removing some fragments of the problematic disc, ligament, and bone. The surgeon makes small incisions through the skin and into the problematic disc. Instead of cutting through your muscles, this technique involves using X-rays and other imaging devices to examine your spine and remove the problematic disc or lamina.
Using a minimally invasive surgical technique for your herniated disc is an efficient option with a fast recovery rate and reduces the risk of complications. The outcome of your spine surgery can significantly impact your life. If surgery is the ideal option to treat your herniated disc in Los Angeles, CA, you will benefit from our top-notch spine surgery services at LAMIS.
Understanding Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery
You may be diagnosed with a herniated disc when you report symptoms like back pain that radiates to your legs and arms and muscle numbness. The pain associated with a herniated disc comes from the pressure exerted on the nerves that pass through the spinal canal by a damaged disc. The pain from this condition can cause discomfort and hinder your daily activities.
After your diagnosis, your doctor will recommend different forms of treatment, including medication, physical therapy, and acupuncture, to relieve your symptoms. If your condition is unresponsive to these treatments, spine surgery may be the only option to relieve the symptoms. Common symptoms that indicate unresponsiveness to non-surgical treatment include:
- Persistent back or leg pain that makes walking or performing regular activities difficult.
- Weakness and numbness of the arms and legs.
Surgery for herniated discs involves removing a fragment of the affected disc. If the condition is severe and the disc is severely damaged, the entire disc may need removal. In this case, the surgery will be more extensive and involve bone fusion. The minimally invasive spine surgery technique has grown in popularity due to its numerous benefits for patients.
Unlike traditional surgery for herniated discs, the minimally invasive technique uses smaller incisions on your body. The surgeon will assess and repair the damage using microscopes inserted through the incisions made through your skin.
Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery Procedure
Before you undergo a surgical procedure to treat a herniated disc, your surgeon will assess all your health factors and the extent of the condition. If you are on blood-thinning medications or other forms of treatment, you must disclose this fact before the procedure begins. Additionally, you must inform the surgeon of any allergies to anesthesia.
The following are the steps involved in minimally invasive surgery for your herniated disc:
Since minimally invasive surgery uses small incisions, you will not need general anesthesia. However, the surgeon will administer local anesthesia to prevent pain and discomfort from the procedure. A healthcare provider will then monitor your vital organs and reaction to anesthesia before the surgery.
The spine surgeon will make an incision through your skin above the problematic area. During the procedure, a special type of X-ray will be used to ensure that the incision is made in the correct location. Through the incision, a wire is pushed into the vertebrae. The surgeon will slightly push a tube through which other instruments can pass into the affected disc.
Removal of the Problematic Disc
Once the surgeon inserts the surgical tools into your vertebrae, they can remove fragments of the problematic disc or bone to protect the nerve root. This helps relieve the pressure on the nerves. If the herniated disc is completely damaged, the surgeon may remove the entire disc, which creates a need for a bone fusion procedure. Removing a problematic disc allows the nerves to pass through the spinal column.
Closing the Incision
The surgeon will close the incision with sutures when the damaged disc is removed. You can be discharged the same day or the day following your procedure.
Promoting Fast Recovery After Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery
When discharging you after a herniated disc surgery, your surgeon may advise you on the following factors that can delay your healing:
- Excessive physical activity. You should avoid vigorous tasks like lifting heavy weights. This is because such activities can cause further injury and delay your recovery.
- Neglecting your incision Although the minimally invasive surgery for your herniated disc has smaller incisions, you should care for the surgical site to avoid infection. This could include avoiding activities like swimming or spending time in a hot tub.
- Sedentary lifestyle. Although you should avoid vigorous activities while recovering from herniated disc surgery, you must engage in light exercises like walking to strengthen your muscles.
- Neglecting your medication. Your surgeon will recommend pain medications to relieve pain from the procedure and antibiotics to prevent infection. If the prescribed medications are ineffective, you must report the issue for supplemental medication.
Surgery for herniated discs done through the minimally invasive technique has a faster recovery rate than open surgery. This means you will have a shorter hospital stay and less muscle damage. The recovery time after your procedure will depend on the extent of your problem and the nature of your symptoms before surgery.
During your recovery journey, you should seek immediate medical care if you experience the following symptoms:
- Increase in the amount of fluid leaking from the incision site.
- Worsening of your symptoms.
- Breathing difficulties.
- Severe headache.
Physical Therapy After Minimally Invasive Surgery for a Herniated Disc
Using a minimally invasive spine surgery technique for your herniated disc has fewer complications and a faster recovery, among other benefits. However, physical therapy is necessary in the days and weeks following the surgery. Physical therapy will promote faster healing from the procedure and maximize your flexibility. The goals for physical therapy after herniated disc surgery include:
- Strengthen your spinal cord. After a minimally invasive surgical procedure for your herniated disc, the surrounding muscles must be strong enough to support the spine in its repaired state. Your doctor will recommend physical therapy to strengthen the deep trunk muscles to keep you pain-free after the procedure.
- Improve stamina. Although strengthening your muscles can stabilize and improve your spinal cord function, cardiovascular training is essential for your spinal health. If you remain too sedentary after your herniated disc surgery, your muscles may begin to recondition, which makes it difficult for you to return to your activity.
- Better symptom control. Not all symptoms of your herniated disc will resolve immediately after the surgical procedure. Meanwhile, your physical therapy routine after the surgery will include correction of motion and postures that can cause pain and discomfort.
Physical therapy is then done at home or in an outpatient clinic. A professional can make an official therapy plan for you for faster recovery.
Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Herniated Disc
You may experience severe back pain and discomfort when you have a herniated disc. When treatment options like medication and therapy do not work for your condition, a surgical procedure to remove the problematic disc may be recommended.
With the advancement of technology, the minimally invasive surgical technique has become a sought-after option for spine surgeries. The following are some of the benefits of undergoing minimally invasive spine surgery for your herniated disc:
Avoid Large Incisions
The most significant difference between minimally invasive surgery and traditional open surgery is the size of the incisions. When a surgeon uses minimally invasive techniques, they make small incisions in the skin around your back and insert a long tube to reach the problematic disc. The small incisions help avoid extreme scarring on your back.
Although minimally invasive surgery for removing a herniated disc involves making a few small incisions, the procedure is precise. The surgical microscopes and endoscopes used for the procedure give the surgeon a better view of your spinal discs. Endoscopes are narrow instruments that go through small incisions and have a high-definition camera. This makes it easier to spot and remove the damaged disc.
Helps Avoid Muscle Damage
One of the most important benefits of undergoing minimally invasive surgery for your herniated disc is that the surgeon does not need to cut through the layers of your skin. Instead, a narrow tube is inserted through a small incision directly into the vertebrae. For this reason, you will not have to deal with muscle damage and other complications arising from cutting through your body.
In addition to preventing muscle damage, minimally invasive herniated disc surgery causes less bleeding from the surgical site.
Your recovery from minimally invasive surgery for a herniated disc is faster than that from traditional open surgery. Although most surgical procedures risk complications, minimally invasive herniated disc surgery causes less trauma to your body, hence fewer complications. With a reduced risk of complications, your body will recover quickly from the surgery, and you could return to your daily routine.
A significant concern with traditional spine surgery techniques is scarring from the large incisions on your skin. Fortunately, you do not have to deal with this issue when you undergo minimally invasive surgery for your herniated disc. Although you may experience swelling at the site where the small incisions are made, you will not have significant scars after complete healing.
Risks Associated with Minimally Invasive Herniated Disc Surgery
Several complications could occur with this type of spine surgery, including:
- Reaction to anesthesia. Your surgeon will administer local anesthesia to prevent pain and discomfort during a minimally invasive herniated disc surgery. Depending on your health, your body could negatively react to anesthesia. You can avoid this complication by informing your dentist of your allergies before the procedure.
- Spinal cord injury. There is always a risk of spinal cord damage when you undergo spine surgery. Damage to your spinal cord could result from excessive pressure from the surgical instruments.
- Abnormal bleeding. Bleeding from the incision site is expected for most surgical procedures. However, bleeding from minimally invasive surgery is less serious and stops after a while. You should seek immediate care if you experience abnormal bleeding. If you are on blood-thinning medication, your surgeon recommends you stop taking it a few weeks before the procedure.
- There is a risk of infection when surgery is performed. An infection after herniated disc surgery could begin at the incision site and spread into your muscles. If you experience symptoms of infection, you must receive immediate treatment to avoid worsening the condition.
- Persistent symptoms. There is no guarantee that your herniated disc symptoms will resolve after the surgery. You may need retreatment if your pain, numbness, and muscle weakness do not resolve.
Find a Competent Neurointerventional Surgeon Near Me
A herniated disc is a problem that occurs when a spinal disc slips out of its casing. This could impact the nearby nerves, causing pain and weakness in your back and legs. If your pain and discomfort from the herniated disc do not respond to medication and therapy, your doctor will recommend herniated disc surgery.
The herniated disc surgery will involve removing some fragments of the herniated disc to relieve pressure from the spinal cord nerves. With the advancement of technology, many spine surgeries are performed using the minimally invasive technique.
A minimally invasive herniated disc surgery entails using imaging devices and making small incisions to assess the extent of your disc damage and remove it. The minimally invasive technique makes the surgery more precise and reduces the risk of complications associated with the traditional spine surgery technique.
Seeking the services of an experienced neuro-interventional surgeon helps ensure a successful procedure with the desired outcome. At LAMIS, we offer safe, efficient, and reliable spine surgery services for our patients suffering from herniated discs in Los Angeles, CA. Contact us at 310-734-6088 to book an appointment.