Have you been diagnosed with a herniated disc? While there are a variety of non-surgical treatment options that can help you manage your symptom, when non-surgical treatments just aren’t working, or if symptoms are getting worse, our board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Cartwright and the team at Houston Advanced Spine may have recommended a discectomy. Here’s what you should know about this surgical procedure and how it could benefit the health and function of your spine.

What is a Discectomy?

Between each vertebra of the spine are discs that cushion the bones of the spine to help them move, bend and twist easily; however, a herniated disc occurs when the outer portion of the disc cracks or tears, which causes the gel-like material inside the discs to leak. Unfortunately, a herniated disc may also press on or irritate nerves. When this happens our surgeon may recommend a discectomy, a spinal surgery that removes damaged areas of the herniated disc to alleviate pressure and to prevent further irritation or possible permanent damage to the nerves.

What Should I Expect?

This surgery is performed under general anesthesia, so the patient will be asleep during the procedure. The goal of this surgery is to remove only the part of the disc that’s putting pressure on the nerve, preserving as much of the disc as possible. If the disc needs to be removed altogether, our surgeon will place either a synthetic bone material in the space or a bone taken from another area of the body such as the pelvis. Then the vertebrae are fused together.

Who Should Consider a Discectomy?

Sometimes non-surgical treatments are all that’s needed to manage your herniated disc; however, it’s important to speak with our orthopedic surgeon if you find that you have trouble standing or walking due to nerve issues, if conservative treatment options aren’t improving your symptoms after several weeks or if your pain becomes severe. These are all signs that you may require a discectomy to alleviate the pressure your herniated disc is placed on the nerves of the spine.

If you have questions about the discectomy procedure, or if you are dealing with symptoms of a herniated disc, you owe it to yourself to get the specialized care you need to improve your health and mobility. Call Houston Advanced Spine today at (281) 305-9533 to schedule a no-risk evaluation.

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