Herniated Disc Treatment
Each person naturally has 23 discs in their spine, which act as cushions between the vertebrae. If one of these discs becomes damaged or ruptures, it’s known as a herniated disc. This condition can occur as a result of the natural aging process, an injury, or disease. Fortunately, most cases of herniated disc can be addressed using non-surgical methods. During your initial consultation, our board certified orthopaedic surgeons will evaluate your concern and develop a customized treatment plan designed to return you to comfort in the shortest time frame possible.
For more information about how our skilled orthopaedists treat herniated disc conditions, please contact our office today. We can answer your questions or help you to schedule a consultation.
Herniated Disc Procedures
At the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey, we emphasize conservative treatments foremost. Fortunately, non-surgical techniques can provide a great deal of relief for many patients who have one or more herniated discs, and these methods can often resolve the concern within a few weeks to six months. While the need for surgery is rare, our orthopaedists may recommend a more advanced method in the event these minimally invasive approaches do not achieve the results desired. It’s important to note, however, not everyone is a candidate for surgery. During your initial consultation, we will evaluate your needs and discuss your options to form a customized plan that best suits you.
Non-Surgical: Rest, heat, light activity, and over-the-counter medication can help with a minor flare up. For more persistent or severe discomfort, physical therapy, strengthening exercises, oral steroids and injections, and prescription medication may be recommended. Epidural steroid injections reduce inflammation and offer temporary relief of back, leg, neck, and upper extremity pain. They will most often be used in combination with other non-surgical treatments.
Partial Discectomy: The purpose of surgery for a herniated disc is to stop the disc from pressing on the nerves. In a partial discectomy, the portion of the disc that ruptured and is pushing out onto the nerves will be removed (in a full discectomy, the whole disc is removed). The disc will be left intact. In many cases, this procedure will be performed using special microscopes to enhance the surgeon’s view of the area, which reduces the size of the incision and typically shortens recovery. This is called a microdiscectomy.
Discectomy with Fusion: If a full discectomy is performed and the affected disc removed, something must replace it to maintain a stable spine with proper alignment. The most common technique used will be a fusion, which uses a bone graft to “weld” together the vertebrae above and below the disc. As a result, movement at this level of the spine is eliminated, which can further help to alleviate discomfort.
Artificial Disc Replacement: Another option to replace the damaged and removed disc is an artificial disc replacement. Instead of a bone graft, a mechanical disc, typically comprised of titanium and polymer, will be positioned between the vertebrae to serve as the new disc. This approach can maintain flexibility in the treated area.
Would you like to know more? Contact us today for more information about herniated disc treatment or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced orthopaedists.