Discectomy and fusion in Atlanta are common procedures to help address issues with back pain. While a spinal fusion entails joining your vertebrae into a single structure, discectomy removes bone spurs from your spine, minimizing the risk of exerting too much pressure on your spine. A surgical procedure is always your doctor’s last recommendation until the pain worsens, making the invasive treatment your only option to minimize pressure.
Why would your doctor suggest a discectomy?
The surgical procedure entails eliminating portions of a herniated disc or bone spurs from your spine. A herniated disc will irritate or compress your nearby nerves, causing you pain. You will have a herniation when the softer parts of your disc force themselves out through a crack in the disc’s exterior. Your doctor is likely to suggest the treatment when conservative treatments fail or when your symptoms worsen. The medical professional may also recommend a discectomy when:
- Standing and walking become almost impossible due to nerve weakness
- Conservative treatment options fail to resolve your debilitating symptoms after approximately 12weeks
- Radiating pain to your legs, arms, or buttocks become intense and unbearable
However, though the process is effective and significantly minimizes herniation symptoms, especially if you have a sign of nerve compression, your doctor may not suggest the approach as a permanent solution because it does little to reverse your situation that allowed the herniation. Therefore, to minimize your risks of re-injuring your spine, your doctor may suggest weight-loss procedures and low-impact advising exercises, you to stay off-limits from physical exercises that might force you to bend, shift, twist or lift tremendously.
How does spinal fusion work?
The procedure prompts your doctor to permanently join two or more bones together to eliminate the existing motion that might be causing you pain. The techniques of the treatment resemble the natural healing of bones. During the process, your surgeon places a graft between your fractured spinal bones. The healthcare provider may also use screws, rods, and metal plates to join the broken vertebrae to hold them together, letting the bones heal as a solid unit. Your surgeon will most likely recommend the treatment when you have:
- Spinal deformities. Your doctor may suggest the procedure to help correct deformities of your spine like scoliosis.
- Spinal instability. Your spine is likely to become unstable when your spine becomes weak and unsteady, resulting in an abnormal motion between the two bones.
- Herniated disc. Fusion might help stabilize your spine after the medical professional removes a herniated disc.
Spinal fusion happens in three primary steps:
- Incision. Your doctor makes a tiny cut to access your spine from the front.
- Bone graft preparation. The bone graft can either come from you or a donor. If you are the donor, your doctor cuts an area above your pelvic bone to harvest a small portion of the bone before closing the incision.
- Fusion. To fuse your broken bone permanently, your surgeon will use metal rods, screws, and metal plates to hold the graft material in place.
Discectomy and fusion are a few examples. Inquire from the medical professional about your options to know how to stabilize your spinal canal.