What Happens In Discectomy Back Surgery

Discectomy is a procedure performed by a back pain specialist to remove a damaged disc from your spine or back. This is also known as lumbar discectomy. Here is what you need to know that happens in a general discectomy procedure.

How Is Discectomy Back Surgery Done?

A discectomy is done by firstly, giving the patient an anesthesia which will cause them to fall asleep. Since this is a long surgery, it’s better to use a general anesthesia rather than a local anesthesia, because you need the patient to be in as little pain as possible.

After the patient has been given the anesthesia, a small incision is made from where the disc needs to be removed. Afterwards, a bone driller is inserted into the incision and the disc is loosened from both sides, in order to remove it easily. The bone driller will produce a lot of fragments, so they need to be removed periodically, through a saline flush, after every few inches.

Once the disc is fully loosened, it can be maneuvered easily out of the disc assembly and the incision is closed and cleaned.

Do I Need A Discectomy?

There is a specific criteria you have to meet in order to be a perfect candidate for a discectomy. If you have a herniated disc, which means that your disc is out of place and causing you a lot of pain, then you will need a discectomy otherwise the pain may worsen and the disc may poke around your muscles and cause even more pain. If you are feeling numbness in your back and leg, along with the prolonged pain, then the issue is serious and you need to check in with your doctor.

You know the condition is getting worse if you are unable to sit straight for longer periods of time, if medicine is not getting rid of the pain and if you feel spikes of pain throughout your entire back.

Also, if you see any sort of physical deformation on your back, such as a bulged disc or protruded bone, then you need to get an MRI or CT scan done, to see where the disc is located and why it is causing you a lot of pain.

What Happens Before The Discectomy?

Before a discectomy back surgery is scheduled, you will need to run a few blood tests and necessary X-rays to pinpoint where the disc lies and how it should be removed. You will also be advised to stop taking any steroids or pain killers 1 to 2 weeks prior to your surgery. You will also need to fast for a 12 hour period, so no food, drink, alcohol, caffeine, etc. for a specific amount of time, until the surgery is complete. You will also be prescribed some pain medication which you can take after the back surgery.

What Is The Aftermath?

After the surgery, you will obviously feel a little groggy. After the anesthesia completely wears off, you will start to feel a little bit of soreness and discomfort in your back region where the incision was made. This is completely normal and you have pain medications to take, if the pain is too unbearable for you. You will be advised not to bend your back too much for about a week, otherwise the newly assembled discs can get easily dislocated.

Recovery And Care Post-Surgery

Post-surgery care and recovery includes:

  • Washing the incision properly and carefully
  • Not getting the incision infected
  • Not moving too recklessly and quickly for a few days after the surgery
  • To lighten your daily activities for some time, until your back fully heals

The normal recovery time for a discectomy is 4 weeks. After 2 days following the surgery, you can be discharged from the hospital. After being discharged, you need to come for follow up appointments after every 2 weeks. The doctor will check the progress of the back and the appointments slowly waver down.

There you have it! Now you know everything there is to a discectomy. This is very commonly done in people who need to get their discs removed, which is causing them a lot of pain. Choose the right time for the surgery and only rely on experienced spine and back doctors McLean.