A herniated disc is a common spinal condition that affects people of all ages. Discs are the “shock absorbers” or “cushions” between the vertebral bones. Inside these discs, a soft, gelatinous material, known as the nucleus, is found. When the protective outer covering known as the annulus tears, the nucleus can extrude through the opening and put pressure on the sensitive nerve roots of the spine. As a result, it causes pain, weakness and numbness and/or tingling in the buttocks and lower extremities.
More often than not, herniated discs are the result of age-related degeneration. As the discs weaken over time, they’re more susceptible to tearing or rupturing. Things like heavy lifting or a back injury can trigger the tear.
For herniated disc treatment, sometimes physical therapy and spinal injections can help relieve the symptoms. But if those methods don’t work, surgery may be your best option. Board certified spine surgeon Dr. Sandro LaRocca and his medical team at the New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. specialize in lower back surgery, including a procedure called lumbar microdiscectomy. If you’re interested in pursuing surgery, contact the office today.
Lumbar Microdiscectomy for Herniated Discs
Lumbar microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive spine surgery that usually takes about one to two hours to perform. The goal is to remove a portion of the herniated lumbar disc in order to relieve pressure on the nerve root. It’s not necessary to remove the entire disc. After the surgery, most patients go back to living a happy and pain-free life.
Here’s how the procedure is performed:
- Anesthesia is administered
- A small incision is made over the herniated disc
- Special instruments are used to remove the portion of the disc that’s creating pressure
- Additional loose disc material may also be removed
- The incision is closed and bandaged
Since the incision site is so small, there is minimal damage to the surrounding muscle and tissue. This makes the recovery time faster than it would be if traditional open surgery was performed.
Recovering from Surgery
Most patients are able to go home the same day of the procedure. Occasionally, an overnight stay may be required. As you recover, the care team will make sure to control your pain and help you feel as comfortable as possible. Once you can walk, pass urine independently and eat and drink, you’ll be able to head home. We’ll ask you to come back for follow-up appointments to monitor your progress in the coming weeks.
While you may experience numbness and stiffness for a month or two after surgery, the herniated disc pain you felt before usually goes away immediately. Most people are able to return to work fairly soon, but you should be careful to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.
Call NJNBI for Herniated Disc Treatment
If you’re suffering from a herniated disc, come to New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. to discuss your concerns. Dr. LaRocca will perform a thorough evaluation and recommend the best course of action to get you the relief you deserve. If treatment involves a lumbar microdiscectomy, you can feel confident you’re in good hands. Call 609-896-0020 to schedule an appointment.