When dealing with the pain and discomfort of a herniated disc, it becomes crucial to explore available treatment options. For most people, this starts with conservative treatments.
For patients who are good candidates for surgery, microdiscectomy is effective at treating herniated disc pain. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Thomas Jones II, MD, specializes in minimally invasive spine surgery and leads the team at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas. Scheduling a visit with a spine specialist is the best way to find out if surgery is recommended in your case.
First line of defense
Conservative treatment approaches help many people with disc herniation get relief. Nonsurgical approaches that focus on relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and improving mobility include:
- Physical therapy (strengthens muscles that support the spine)
- Medication (manages pain and inflammation)
- Lifestyle modifications, such as weight loss (reduces stress on your body)
- Massage therapy (relieves pain)
If your symptoms improve with these treatments, surgery may not be necessary. However, if you experience persistent pain, weakness, or numbness, or if your symptoms have a major impact on your quality of life, it’s wise to consider surgery.
Minimally invasive microdiscectomy
Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure designed to relieve pressure on compressed nerve roots due to a herniated disc. During the surgery, Dr. Jones makes a small incision in your back and removes the portion of the herniated intervertebral disc that’s compressing the nerve.
Using magnification allows for a more precise removal of the disc material with minimal disruption to surrounding tissues, making this a preferred option over traditional open spine surgery.
Advantages of microdiscectomy
Microdiscectomy typically results in less pain and a faster recovery time compared to traditional surgery. Patients often experience immediate relief from pain, which is the primary symptom of a herniated disc.
The smaller incision reduces the risk of damage to surrounding muscle and minimizes scarring. Additionally, microdiscectomy has a high success rate, particularly in relieving symptoms related to nerve compression, such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.
Who should consider microdiscectomy?
Microdiscectomy is generally considered for patients who have failed to find adequate relief from conservative treatments. Ideal candidates are those whose symptoms match with imaging findings showing a herniated disc.
It's particularly recommended for patients experiencing significant leg pain, numbness, or weakness due to a herniated disc compressing a nerve root. It’s also an option for people experiencing symptoms of nerve damage or severe symptoms that hinder daily activities.
Recovery from microdiscectomy
Recovery from microdiscectomy is usually faster than traditional open surgery. Patients can often return home the same day or the day after the surgery and can resume light activities within a few weeks. Dr. Jones typically recommends physical therapy to strengthen your back and improve flexibility.
While the recovery period varies, most patients notice a significant improvement in symptoms within a few weeks to months post-surgery. It's important to follow post-operative instructions closely to ensure a smooth and effective recovery process.
Making an informed decision
The decision to have surgery for a herniated disc depends on various factors, including symptom severity and how much symptoms disrupt your quality of life. If you’ve tried conservative treatments without adequate relief, Dr. Jones can review your case and discuss the most appropriate approach to helping you get back to a life with less pain.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Jones, contact us at The Spine Institute of Southeast Texas in Pearland or Lake Jackson, Texas.