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Discectomy surgery performed by experts at Laser Spine Institute in Philadelphia

During the natural aging process our spinal elements begin to degenerate. This leads to degenerative conditions, which often impact the intervertebral discs. Intervertebral discs are made of approximately 90 percent water. As we age, these discs lose a portion of that water. This causes increased pressure to be placed on the disc, and can cause bulging or tearing.

As these discs degenerate, often patients experience chronic pain and symptoms. This is due to the disc material moving outside of its location between the vertebrae. The discectomy is performed in order to remove a portion of the disc that is impinging the spinal cord or nerve root, generally alleviating the symptoms associated with the condition, as well as cauterizing the disc in order to prevent further seepage from occurring.

During the procedure, the surgeon enters the back using a less than 1-inch incision. The surgeon will then gently spread the muscles using a series of tubes. Through the largest of these tubes, the surgeon will enter the direct visualization and magnification tools to complete the procedure. After the procedure is complete, the surgeon will remove the tube, allowing the muscles to fall back into their natural placement. This prevents the tearing and ripping generally associated with an open back procedure, and thus shortens the recovery time.

Conditions treated by discectomy

Multiple conditions can cause these discs to move from their general location, resulting in the need for a discectomy. These conditions may include:

  • Bulging disc – As discs begin to bulge, they often will compress the spinal cord or surrounding nerve roots. And a discectomy is performed in order to shrink the disc, allowing it to fall back into its correct location.
  • Herniated disc – Similar to bulging discs, when discs herniate, disc material may seep into the surrounding areas of the spinal column. This can cause the spinal cord or nerve roots to become impinged. The discectomy is done to remove this disc material and cauterize the disc in order to prevent the herniation from happening again.
  • Pinched nerves – Pinched nerves are often caused by displaced disc material, therefore the discectomy can remove that disc material and alleviate the patient’s pain.
  • Sciatica – The sciatic nerve is also often compressed by displaced disc material. This procedure can remove the disc material that is impinging the sciatic nerve.
  • Foraminal stenosis – The narrowing that causes foraminal stenosis is often seen when disc material causes the exit of the foramen to close. This procedure can remove the disc material, generally eliminating the patient’s symptoms.
  • Annular tear – When an intervertebral disc tears, it is called an annular tear. Annular tears are also generally referred to as herniated discs. This is treated through the discectomy by removing the disc material that is compressing the spinal cord of nerves and cauterizing the disc to prevent future tearing.

If you are suffering from any of these conditions, contact Laser Spine Institute today to see if you are a candidate for a discectomy at our Philadelphia facility.