What are common minimally invasive lumbar disc herniation procedures?
Compression and fracture of the disc located between the two vertebrae is the major cause of herniated disc. This causes the internal gel from the disc to escape into the spinal canal and the impact on the nerve. One of the most common sites for the herniated disk is in the lumbar spine (lower back).
Patients who are diagnosed with a herniated disk in the lumbar spine can experience pain in the lower back. However, sometimes patients can also feel pain radiating to the buttocks and legs. Serious cases of a herniated disc in the lower back can cause the foot on the impacted side to experience numbness or tingling. If you experience these symptoms and if you have not been diagnosed with a herniated disk, consult your doctor to determine what could have been the cause of the symptoms. Your doctor may order an MRI test to diagnose your spine condition and recommend proper pain relief treatment.
Causes of a herniated disk in the lumbar spine
A common area for herniated discs is in the lumbar spine. Herniated discs are typically caused by injury or natural spinal degeneration. However, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused your herniated disc. At times, using your back muscles instead of your leg and thigh muscles to lift large, heavy objects can lead to a herniated disc, as can twisting and turning while lifting. Another common cause for a herniated disk is spinal degeneration, which is normal aging-related wear and tear of the spine. As you age, your spinal discs will lose water, which in turn makes them less flexible and more prone to tearing or rupturing.
The lumbar spine is responsible for supporting the body’s weight and allowing the flexibility and mobility of the body. When the body weight increases, the vertebrae in the spinal cord has to support more weight. Therefore, these vertebrae are then compressed due to the added body weight which causes the disc in between each vertebra to flatten and stretch. A typical illustration of how the disc is being compressed between the vertebrae: when you gently press a piece of molding clay between your hands.
Gradually, as the vertebrae continue to compress, the hard outer shell of the disc may crack which allows the jellylike fluid inside the disc to flow into the spinal canal. If the fluid presses onto the nerve root in the spinal canal, the patient may experience serious chronic pain. Although, if the herniated disk is located in the lower part of the lumbar spine and impacts the sciatic nerve at the base of the spine, the symptoms are commonly called sciatica.
If you feel herniated disk symptoms in your lumbar spine or sciatic symptoms, contact a spine specialist regarding treatment options. There are many available options to treat mild to severely herniated discs.
Treatment options for a lumbar herniated disc
Patients who have a mildly herniated disk can receive pain relief through conservative treatment methods. Examples of the most conservative treatment options include ice and heat and physical therapy, among other treatment options. Although therapy is effective for some mild conditions, not everyone finds permanent relief from conservative treatment.
Have you tried conservative treatments and did not find long-lasting pain relief? It might be time to consider a surgical treatment for the herniated disc.
Lumbar Herniated Disc Minimally Invasive Procedures
For the majority of the patients, back surgery is considered a “last resort” treatment option. Although, your surgeon might recommend this option depending on the severity of the condition and the treatments which have already been administered without pain-relief.
There are two types of surgeries for lumbar herniated discs: minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery. This type of procedure performed is determined by the severity of the condition.
Furthermore, mild cases of a lumbar herniated disc will most likely be treated with a discectomy procedure. Discectomy is one of the most common minimally invasive spine decompression operations. So, in this procedure, a portion of the herniated disc will be removed to decompress the nerve in the spinal canal. The operation will be carried out with a small 1-inch incision.
In other cases, you may have to undergo a minimally invasive stabilization operation. This type of procedure (which is also performed by a small incision) involves a less invasive alternative to traditional spine fusion.
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