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Indications That a Discectomy May Be Recommended

Indications That a Discectomy May Be Recommended

Spinal discs are rubbery cushions between the vertebral bones of your spine. They protect your vertebrae and the nerves in your spinal cord, but they’re susceptible to injury and age-related degeneration.

Injured discs, or herniated discs, can break open and press against your spinal cord, often causing back pain and radiating nerve pain. If you have a herniated disc, there are many treatment options to try — from conservative physical therapy to spine surgery.

Discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure to repair a damaged disc in your spine. It involves removing part or all of a damaged disc to relieve pressure on your spinal cord.

Choosing surgery is a big decision, and George Kakoulides, MD, and our team can walk you through your treatment options. A few different indications could mean discectomy is the best option for your herniated disc. Dr. Kakoulides may recommend a discectomy if:

You have a severely herniated disc

Most herniated discs develop over time, and the symptoms come on slowly. As you get older, your spinal discs dry out and get brittle. They’re more likely to break and herniate, and this condition is called age-related disc degeneration.

However, discs can herniate in an acute injury too. A traumatic injury or improper lifting could rupture a disc, causing sudden and significant pain.

Severely herniated discs, or injuries that affect more than one disc, could indicate a need for discectomy or another spine surgery.

You’re experiencing significant radiating pain

Herniated disc symptoms almost always include some back pain. Herniated lumbar discs often cause low back pain, while herniated cervical discs lead to neck pain.

But the pain isn’t always limited to your back or neck. Severely herniated discs can compress more nerves in your spine, which may trigger radiating pain in your limbs.

Herniated lumbar discs can cause symptoms like:

These symptoms can range in severity, but experiencing radiating pain or loss of bladder or bowel control indicates the need for surgical disc repair, like discectomy.

You haven’t found relief with conservative care

No matter the cause of your herniated disc, Dr. Kakoulides, and our team typically start by recommending conservative treatment.  Conservative care plans often include a combination of:

These treatments are very effective for many patients, but some find they still have pain and other symptoms after working through their conservative care options. Dr. Kakoulides may recommend a discectomy to treat their condition in these cases.

Discectomy is a minimally invasive procedure to remove damaged parts of your injured spinal disc. Depending on your condition, Dr. Kakoulides may completely remove the disc. Following a discectomy, you may need a disc replacement or fusion procedure.

You're not out of options when conservative treatment isn’t enough for your herniated disc pain.  Schedule an appointment with Dr. Kakoulides to learn more about discectomy and find out if it’s an option for you. Contact us at 631-358-2589 or book online today.

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