Herniated discs are bulging discs that may affect one’s sensations and movements especially in the lower extremities. While it may lead to pain and affectation of the range of motion, surgery is not the basic treatment for the condition and it is only reserved for more advanced cases, while your local Wesley Chapel chiropractor may be able to help with the less severe variety.

The main line of treatment for herniated discs includes physical therapy, use of pain killers, traction, exercises and overall rehabilitation. Majority of cases have improved conditions with conservative remedies only reducing the need for surgery. Surgery becomes the last resort when the herniated disc becomes a significant concern.

Surgery for Neurologic Deficits

Herniated discs only become significant and may require surgery when it has affected a nerve root that may possibly lead to irreversible nerve damage or a neurologic deficit is being experienced by the patient. For instance, the presence of cauda equina syndrome may require emergency surgical treatment as this may lead to loss of bladder and bowel control. The presence of weakness, numbness in the genitals and incontinence are warning signs of cauda equina syndrome and immediate attention in the form of surgical decompression is needed to prevent irreversible neurologic deficit. Other neurologic symptoms that may require surgical interventions include:

  • Depressed reflexes below the level of herniation
  • Decreased dermatomal distribution or senses
  • Weakness of myotomal distribution

Other conditions may be deemed appropriate for surgery such as when conventional measures are not effective to relieve the symptoms. Nevertheless, the decision for surgery still lies on the actual diagnosis and condition of the patient.

Surgery for Non-responsive Cases

A growing body of evidence also has supported the use of surgical intervention in cases of disc herniations that do not respond to conservative types of treatments. Persistence in symptoms such as pain, despite the use of analgesics may also require surgery based on the discretion of the physician.

Why Surgery Is Necessary

Surgery is usually indicated for disc herniations to provide relief of nerve compression. This allows the nerve to achieve full recovery and helps reverse symptoms of back pain and reduced range of motion. Surgery is also needed to prevent permanent nerve damage resulting from the compression of major nerve roots in the spine.

When surgery is deemed appropriate, there are several procedures that may be done including:

  • Discectomy

Discectomy is the partial or the full removal of the herniated disc to relieve nerve compression. It is the most common surgical technique used for herniated discs.

  • Laminectomy

Laminectomy is the removal of the part of the lamina in the spine to provide a wider space for the spinal cord and nerve roots to pass through relieving nerve compression.

  • Tessys method

This method is a less invasive procedure using an endoscope to remove herniated discs.

  • Artificial disc replacement

This is a new surgical technique used to provide dynamic stabilization of the spine.

If you are suffering from herniated disc, it is better to consult your medical practitioner to determine if you require surgery or not. Early during the course of disc herniation, it is also optimal to visit your chiropractor to employ non-surgical means of managing herniated discs.