Lumbar Herniated Disc - Surgery
Surgery is considered if the following conditions are present:
- You have leg pain that hasn't improved with at least 4 weeks of nonsurgical
treatment, and your symptoms are bad enough to interfere with normal activities
and work and to require strong pain medicine.
- You have weakness, loss
of motion, or abnormal sensitivity.
- Tests show that your herniated
disc can be treated surgically.
People who have surgery may feel
better faster. But in the long run, people treated with surgery and people
treated without surgery have similar abilities to work and to be
active.3 Some people require additional
disc surgery after their first surgery.
- Lumbar Herniated Disc: Should I
Many people are able
to gradually resume work and daily activities soon after surgery. In some
cases, your doctor may recommend a rehabilitation program after surgery, which
might include physical
therapy and home exercises.
Disc surgery isn't considered
effective treatment for low back pain that is not caused by a herniated
disc. Disc surgery is also not done if back pain is the only symptom the
herniated disc causes.
- Discectomy. This may be the most
effective type of surgery for people who have tried nonsurgical treatment
without success and who have severe, disabling leg pain.
- Percutaneous discectomy is considered
less effective than open discectomy.
- Laminotomy and laminectomy. Either
procedure may be done at the same time as a discectomy, or
number of technologies using small incisions or injections for destroying the
disc are used by some surgeons. Examples are endoscopic discectomy and
electrothermal disc decompression. These techniques are experimental and
unproved. If your doctor recommends one of them to treat your herniated disc,
make sure to get as much information as possible about the procedure. Consider
getting a second
Laser discectomy uses a focused beam of
light to dissolve a herniated disc. Although this technology has been used by
some surgeons for several years, it is considered experimental because of the
lack of studies on its effectiveness and safety.4
Other treatments that have been tried
include removing the center of the disc and removing all or part of the disc by
using suction. These treatments are not considered to be