Medical Advice

Herniated Disk Treatment

Do you want to know what efficiency has a surgery if you suffer from a herniated disk diagnosis, what kind of treatments exist and if other methods are there? Here are the answers for some of the most comment questions related to herniated disk. In most cases, your doctor will help you choose the best treatment for you.

What is a herniated disk?

Vertebrae that form the backbone are separated by intervertebral discs with the role of shock damping and also, maintaining the flexibility of the spine.

These discs are round and flattened, with a tougher external capsule that surrounds the nucleus composed of a gelatinous material, rich in water. For various reasons (overweight, often carrying loads, dehydration produced with age, spinal cord injury), intervertebral discs can crack. If these cracks are developing in time to rupture, the nucleus fragments can be pushed out, causing herniation.

herniated disk

Herniated Disc Pain

When does pain come into picture?

The herniation releases a number of substances that cause inflammation of nerve roots leaving the spinal cord. Symptomatic, this means pain, numbness or weakness in the region of an affected nerve associated also with possible radiation in the surrounding areas.

In which cases is a herniated disk surgery necessary?

Before considering surgery an option, a period of nonsurgical treatment is required (rest, even a long rest in bed, physiotherapy and medication). Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), infiltration with cortisone, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, or drugs that induce sleep are recommended against pain and discomfort.

If the pain does not give up after 4-8 weeks of nonsurgical treatment, you should consider having surgery. Also, when several compression of lumbar root cause bladder incontinence and impaired sexual function (Ponytail Syndrome), surgery is necessary.

What are the main operative techniques for a herniated disk?

Open discectomy is the surgical technique for removing fragments of herniated disc. This method can be effective in patients who undergo nonsurgical treatment without success and those who have severe pain. Percutaneous discectomy is used for completely displaced discs or those who reach the spinal canal.

This herniated disk operation is considered less effective than open discectomy. Laminotomia and laminectomy are two surgical techniques used in order to decrease pressure on the spine, occurring mainly in the elderly. A new microsurgical technique for herniated disk that is currently developing is Nucleotomia Percutaneous and involves using a laser.

It consists in making a small incision (0.5 mm), in which is inserted a device with bright rays that burns and vaporizes the hernias. The operation takes half an hour and requires no hospitalization. In the absence of conclusive studies that show the benefits and risks, this method is still considered experimental.

What risks and benefits involves a herniated disk surgery?

Any surgery entails some risks. One of these is the return of symptoms after surgery, especially if the patient does not comply with the rules of recovery indicated by the doctor.

On the other hand, the surgery is likely to put an end to the period of discomfort.Studies show that in 70% of cases, there is an improvement in herniated disk symptoms from the early days after surgery.

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