A herniated disc can cause a great deal of discomfort and prevent you from doing the things you love. Luckily, they are also highly treatable and one of the most common reasons people are referred to New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. If you’re suffering from a herniated disc and conservative modalities haven’t provided relief, Dr. Sandro LaRocca is standing by to help you explore your surgical treatment options from our Central New Jersey locations in Lawrenceville, Mount Laurel, North Brunswick, and Wall Township.
Between each vertebra is a spinal disc that holds the sections of the spine together while allowing for a full range of movement, with soft centers that provide cushioning during movement and for impacts. Sometimes, whether due to injury or to natural degeneration over time, the jelly-like center of the disc can become herniated, meaning it bulges out from its normal space. The bulging can cause pressure on the spinal cord itself, nerve roots, or other nearby structures, and this can occur anywhere on the spine.
When this happens, it can cause radiculopathy, which is pain, weakness, numbness, or pain radiating from the back through the extremities. It can also cause myelopathy, or spinal cord compression, leading to difficulty walking and balancing, tingling or numbness, and other symptoms.
Herniated discs are known to affect millions of people each year and are typically treatable through non-surgical treatments, like physical therapy, epidural shots, or pain management. However, if herniated discs don’t respond to these modalities, or there is neurological dysfunction such as weakness, surgery may be recommended by Dr. LaRocca.
With over two decades of expertise in diagnosing and treating spinal issues, board-certified Dr. LaRocca can help you make the best treatment decisions for your herniated disc. To properly diagnose your condition and qualify you for surgery, the doctor will perform a physical examination and/or medical imaging like X-rays or an MRI. After an evaluation of your condition and health records, a treatment plan optimized for you and your needs can be developed. If Dr. LaRocca determines you are a candidate for herniated disc surgery, he may recommend one of the following procedures:
Also called microdecompression, this minimally invasive surgical procedure involves removing portions of the herniated disc. This relieves pressure on the spinal nerves, eliminating pain and other symptoms. It is typically performed on lumbar injuries but can be effective anywhere along the spine.
During ACDF, Dr. LaRocca removes the entire damaged disc. He may also remove any bone spurs or other material that is pressing on the spine. He then uses bone graft material to fuse neighboring vertebrae together, strengthening the joint and protecting against further injury.
Serious herniations in the lower back are treated with lumbar fusion. This procedure involves fusing the vertebrae around where the damaged disc is located. The fusion prevents vertebrae from rubbing together and ensures that nerves have room to pass through without pressure.
Most procedures only require tiny incisions, allowing you to return home within a day after treatment. Dr. LaRocca may suggest physical therapy and restrictions on heavy lifting in the days and weeks to follow. By following his advice, most patients see excellent outcomes and a better quality of life after treatment.
If you’ve been referred by a specialist or tried conservative treatments without relief, schedule a consultation today with Dr. LaRocca at New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. Our offices are conveniently located throughout Central New Jersey in Lawrenceville, Mount Laurel, North Brunswick, and Wall Township.