Dr Shardul Soman


What is Spine Disc Surgery?

Between each of the bones in your spine (the vertebrae) is a disc. These discs act as shock absorbers and help cushion your bones. A herniated disc is one that extends beyond the capsule containing it and pushes into the spinal canal. You can have a herniated disc anywhere along your spine, even in your neck, but it’s most likely to occur in the lower back (lumbar vertebrae).

In a laminotomy, a surgeon makes an opening in the vertebral arch (lamina) to relieve pressure on your nerve roots. This procedure is performed through a small incision, sometimes with the aid of a microscope. If necessary, the lamina can be removed. This is called a laminectomy.

Discectomy is the most common surgery used for a herniated disc in the lumbar region. In this procedure, the portion of the disc that is causing the pressure on your nerve root is removed. In some cases, the entire disc is removed.

The surgeon will access the disc through an incision in your back (or neck). When possible, your surgeon will use a smaller incision and special instruments to achieve the same results. This newer, less invasive procedure is called a microdiscectomy. In some cases, these procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis.

Artificial disc surgery
For artificial disc surgery, you’ll be under general anaesthesia. This surgery is usually used for a single disc when the problem is in the lower back. It’s not a good option if you have arthritis or osteoporosis or when more than one disc shows degeneration.

For this procedure, the surgeon enters through an incision in the abdomen. The damaged disc is replaced with an artificial disc made from plastic and metal. You may need to stay in the hospital for a few days.

All surgeries have some risk, including infection, bleeding, and nerve damage. If the disc isn’t removed, it can rupture again. If you suffer from degenerative disc disease, you may develop problems with other discs.

Following spinal fusion surgery, a certain amount of stiffness is to be expected. This may be permanent.

After your surgery, you’ll be given specific discharge instructions regarding when to resume normal activity and when to begin exercising. In some cases, physical therapy may be necessary. It is very important to follow your doctor’s recommendations.

Most people recover well after disc surgery, but each case is unique. Your individual outlook depends on:

  • The details of your surgery
  • Any complications you may have encountered
  • Your general state of health

To help prevent future problems with your back, try to maintain a healthy weight. Always use proper lifting techniques. Strong abdominal and back muscles help support your spine, so be sure to exercise them regularly. Your doctor or physical therapist can recommend exercises designed for that purpose.

Feasibility of endoscopic discectomy by interlaminar approach at a high volume tertiary public hospital in a developing country.