The spinal column supports the entire body. This is made of a number of individual bones stacked together with rubbery discs between them. These discs cushion the bones and act as shock absorbers. In some cases, the soft center of these discs can push through the exterior casing. This is known as a herniated disc. Not all herniated disc cases require treatment. However, in serious cases, treatment may include medications, surgery and physiotherapy. Surgery is usually the last resort for a herniated disc. There are four main types of surgeries that can be used to address this issue.
- Laminotomy or Laminectomy: This is a minimally invasive surgery. For this procedure, the doctor will make a small incision along the backbone through which an opening will be created in the Lamina or vertebral arch. This helps relieve pressure on the nerve roots and hence resolves pain caused by herniated discs. In some cases, the lamina may need to be removed. This is known as a laminectomy.
- Diskectomy or Microdiskectomy: A Diskectomyis one of the most common procedures used to address herniated discs in the lumbar region. For this procedure, the surgeon will make an incision along the neck or back. He will then remove a portion of the disc or the whole disc that is affected. This helps reduce pressure on the nerve roots. A Microdiskectomy refers to a minimally invasive form of this procedure. These procedures can be performed as an inpatient or outpatient procedures depending on the patient’s medical state.
- Artificial Disk Surgery: This procedure is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. It is typically advised in cases where a single disc in the lower back region has herniated. An incision is made in the patient’s abdomen through which the damaged disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc. This artificial disc may be created using plastic or metal. Artificial disc surgery is not recommended for arthritic and orthopedic patients or in cases where more than one disc is affected.
- Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is also performed while the patient is under general anesthesia and may require hospitalization for several days. For this procedure, two or more bones of the spinal column are fused together permanently to immobilize that part of the spine. This can be done with the help of bone grafts from a donor or any other part of the body along with plastic or metal screws and rods.
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