Herniated Disc Surgery: What to Expect

A herniated disc — also called bulged, ruptured or slipped disc — happens when the disc nucleus is pushed out of the spinal canal. It can happen anywhere in the spine but it commonly occurs in the lower back (lumbar spine). 

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, a herniated disc may be an indication of early-stage degeneration. But 9 out of 10 patients suffering from herniated disc do not usually require surgery.

However, for patients whose condition is no longer alleviated by conservative treatments, here’s what you can expect from herniated disc surgery, according to our spine surgeon in Boynton Beach:

1. There are different types of herniated disc surgery

A patient will have to be assessed by our orthopedic spine surgeon in Palm Beach County for the type of back surgery needed. Following X-rays and tests to determine the kind of bulging, the doctor may perform one or more of the following surgeries: 

  • Discectomy or the partial or full removal of the herniated disk to relieve inflammation.
  • Artificial disks or the implantation of an artificial part to wedge between two vertebrae. 
  • Fusion or the permanent connection of two more bones in the spine to give stability.
  • Laminectomy or the removal of the bone in the spinal canal to ease the pressure.

2. Recovery times also vary based on the procedure

According to the NYU Langone Health, patients who undergo discectomy may be up and about within hours after the procedure. Those who have had disc replacement may expect to be in bed for 24 hours. They might also need to wear a back or neck brace for a few weeks. 

Spinal fusion patients may need days to recover to ensure that the incision heals properly. At any rate, a patient who had herniated disc surgery may need pain management guidance from a physical therapist.

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3. Surgical treatment doesn’t guarantee that the disc herniation won’t return

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, there is still a 5 – 10 percent chance that the herniated disc could recur, regardless of whether the patient had the surgery or not. However, symptoms of pain and immobility are resolved better and faster with surgical treatments.

4. Discuss the surgical risks with your spine surgeon in Boynton Beach

Although the cases are very minimal, herniated disc surgery may cause some minor complications like infection, bleeding, and adverse reaction to anesthesia. Our spine surgeon can tell you how to prevent these complications and how to ease back into your old lifestyle after the surgery. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have about the procedure so that you are fully informed before the operation.

Learn more about herniated disc surgery from our orthopedic spine surgeon in Palm Beach County

Dr. Matthew Hepler is an adult and pediatric spine surgeon in Palm Beach County, Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Delray Beach.

He treats all conditions of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, and also provides spinal stenosis treatments. He offers operative treatments, including both minimally invasive techniques and complex reconstructions. Additionally, he offers non-operative treatment options, such as pain medications, steroid injections, and physical therapy. 

If you would like to learn more about the services of our orthopedic spine surgeon, please Contact Us.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.