CARDIOLOGY | PREVENTIVE
Many people struggle with disc issues in their back and looking for treatment; if that is you, microdiscectomy may be exactly what you need. The discs in the back have a very important function. Without vertebral discs, your bones would rub together. You may have heard of a discectomy, but microdiscectomy is a new and improved version of a discectomy. Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that is safer and requires shorter recovery times. It has been shown to be extremely effective without a lot of risks. It may be your time for a microdiscectomy.
The back is composed of vertebrae and discs. The primary function of discs in the back is to cushion the bones and prevent them from rubbing together. It may not seem like a big deal when the bones rub together, but the friction causes a lot of pain and discomfort. What you may not realize is the discs help to hold the vertebrae together. Besides these functions, the discs work like shock absorbers. The back is susceptible to a lot of pressure. Without the shock absorbing power of the discs, the vertebrae would break under pressure. You might think the location and structure of the discs prevent them from being susceptible to dysfunction or disease, but they too can have serious problems.
The discs are susceptible to a lot of different problems. Some common issues include:
- Herniated Discs
- Bulging Discs
- Degenerative Discs
Herniated and bulging discs can sometimes be confused. They both have similar symptoms, but they are different conditions. Herniated discs are discs that have an outgrowth which affects the surrounding nerves. Bulging discs, on the other hand, are discs that come out of place. Degenerative disc disease is the breakdown of the discs in the spine. As the discs break down, it puts more pressure on the vertebrae causing them to lose that lubrication and rub together. Microdiscectomy primarily fixes herniated and bulging discs. The problem with these two conditions is that they put pressure on the nerves of the spine. This pressure causes numbness and weakness in the surrounding areas. Sometimes the nerve becomes pinched. When this happens, surgery is a must.
Microdiscectomy vs. Discectomy
A traditional discectomy removes pieces of the disc or the whole disc through open back surgery. Microdiscectomy, also known as minimally invasive discectomy surgery, does the same thing in a minimally invasive way. There are many benefits to the surgery. Open discectomy has been the primary form of treatment for herniated disc problems. The surgery requires cutting not only the skin but the muscles as well. The muscles are pulled apart, and the vertebrae are exposed. The surgeon then operates. Microdiscectomy uses a much smaller incision to get the job done. The incision is big enough to insert robotic arms but small enough that the muscles and tissues that cover the vertebrae are not completely ripped apart.
The Microdiscectomy Procedure
The first step of surgery is a small 1-inch incision. The incision may be as small as 1/2 inches. Most herniated discs and bulging discs happen in the thoracic and lumbar region of the spine. The next step is getting through the back muscles. Open surgery cuts right through the muscles. Microdiscectomy moves the muscles out of the way instead of cutting through the muscles. The muscles are lifted off the bone. There is also a protective membrane over the nerves. Since most disc issues affect the nerves, there has to be access to the nerves of the spine. What the doctor does next is dependent upon the issue the patient is having. For herniated discs, there may be debris that needs to be cleaned. Some bulging discs are completely removed, and parts of the discs that are rubbing against the nerve are cut off.
There are many benefits to microdiscectomy. The first, as stated earlier, is a small incision. The small incision removes the risk of damaging the tissues of the back. There is no pulling apart of the muscles either which means the recovery period will be much faster than open discectomy. You may be able to get back to work and your daily activities within two weeks. The recovery for most open surgeries takes months. Another benefit of surgery is a lower risk of infection. Infection can happen after any surgery, but when you have a small incision, there is less of a chance that bacteria and virus will enter the wound. Closing the wound is not as difficult either. Instead of multiple sutures, there is only need for two.
If you are having trouble with discs in your back, it is time to get that fixed. It is time for you to take control of your back pain. Before now, surgery required a lot of recovery time, and now that has all changed. Microdiscectomy is getting people treated and back to work in two weeks. Talk with your spine surgeon about your options. This could be the treatment you have been waiting for.
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