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Discectomy

When back pain and neurological symptoms caused by damaged discs in the spine do not respond to more conservative measures, Dr. Baig may recommend a type of spinal decompression surgery called a discectomy. During a discectomy, Dr. Baig physically removes the damaged part of the disc that is pressing on or irritating spinal nerves.

When is it time for a discectomy?

Many people with herniated discs and other damage due to degenerative disc disease are able to find relief for their symptoms without surgery. However, a discectomy may be indicated if:

  • Nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy and steroid injections do not improve your symptoms.
  • Weakness in the legs caused by a damaged disc is impairing your ability to walk.
  • Your pain becomes unmanageable.
Dr. Baig will only perform discectomy surgery if he is certain it will help relieve your symptoms and restore your quality of life.

What happens during a discectomy?

Discectomy surgery is done under general anesthesia. Damaged discs may bulge out of place, slip forward, or even rupture. This type of damage often compresses or irritates nearby spinal nerves. Dr. Baig will make an incision in your back to access the damaged disc. A small portion of bone or ligament may need to be removed to gain access.The goal is to remove only the portion of the disc that is affecting the nerves, leaving the rest of the disc in place. Dr. Baig is skilled in minimally invasive discectomy as well as traditional discectomy.

After discectomy

Some healthy patients go home a few hours after discectomy surgery. If you have other health conditions, a short hospital stay may be required. Most people can return to work or normal daily activities within a few weeks, although you will need to avoid heavy lifting and certain bending or twisting motions.

Most patients experience relief from radiating pain, weakness, and other symptoms following discectomy. However, discectomy cannot stop further disc degeneration from occurring. To protect your spine and reduce the chances of additional disc injury, Dr. Baig may recommend lifestyle changes and exercise.