Herniated Disc Or Ruptured Disc Spine Surgery in India
Herniated disc is a relatively common condition that can occur anywhere along the spine, but most often affects the lower back or neck region. Also known as a slipped disc or ruptured disc, a herniated disc develops when one of the cushion-like pads between the vertebrae moves out of position and presses on adjacent nerves.
Herniated discs are typically caused by overuse injuries or trauma to the spine; however, disc conditions can also develop as a result of the normal aging process. It is also known that there is a genetic factor that contributes to the development of disc degeneration and herniated disc. In most cases, a herniated disc in the lower back will heal within six months, as the size of herniation shrinks with time via resorption. Surgery may be needed if medication, physical therapy and other treatments fail.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a herniated disc vary greatly depending on the location of the herniation and your own response to pain. If you have a herniated lumbar disc, you may feel pain that radiates from your low back area, down one or both legs, and sometimes into your feet (called sciatica). You may feel a pain like an electric shock that is severe whether you stand, walk, or sit. Activity such as bending, lifting, twisting, and sitting may increase the pain. Lying flat on your back with knees bent may be the most comfortable because it relieves the downward pressure on the disc.
Sometimes the pain is accompanied by numbness and tingling in your leg or foot. You may experience cramping or muscle spasms in your back or leg.
In addition to pain, you may have leg muscle weakness, or knee or ankle reflex loss. In severe cases, you may experience foot drop (your foot flops when you walk) or loss of bowel or bladder control. If you experience extreme leg weakness or difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function, you should seek medical help immediately.
Stages of a Cervical Herniated Disc
The 4 Stages To a Cervical Herniated Disc are:
- Disc Degeneration: Due to chemical changes associated with aging, intervertebral discs weaken. As part of the aging process, it can cause the disc to dry out, making it less able to absorb the shock. Disc can also become thinner in this stage.
- Prolapse: The position of the disc changes with some slight impingement into the spinal canal or spinal nerves. This stage is also called a bulging disc or protruding disc.
- Extrusion: The gel-like nucleus pulposus (inner part of the intervertebral disc) breaks through the tire-like wall (annulus fibrosus) but remains within the disc.
- Sequestration or Sequestered Disc: The nucleus pulposus breaks through the annulus fibrosus and can move outside the interverterbral disc and into the spinal canal.
Treatment of Herniated Disc Or Ruptured Disc Spine Surgery
1. Non – Operative Treatment
The good news is that most cases of cervical disc herniation do not require surgery! There are a number of non-surgical treatments that can help relieve symptoms. These include the following:
- Pain medications such as anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling and pain, muscle relaxants to calm spasm, and narcotic painkillers to alleviate acute pain.
- Heat/cold therapy, especially during the first 24-48 hours.
- Physical therapy exercises such as gentle massage, stretching, and neck bracing or traction to decrease pain and increase flexibility.
In conjunction with these treatments, the medical staff will educate patients about risk factors to avoid, healthy posture, good body mechanics, and suitable exercises. Quality education can lead to a healthier spine in the long run.
2. Surgical Treatment
If non-operative measures do not work, surgery may be recommended. An anterior (from the front) cervical discectomy is the most common surgical procedure to treat damaged cervical discs. The goal of this procedure is to relieve pressure on the nerve roots or on the spinal cord by removing all or part of the damaged disc.
During the surgery, the soft tissues of the neck are separated to expose the offending disc. The disc is removed, to decompress the spinal cord or nerve roots. If necessary, the space left by the removed disc will be filled with a bone graft – a small piece of bone usually taken from the patient’s hip. The bone graft is used to join or fuse the vertebrae together. This is called a fusion. In some cases, some instrumentation (such as plates or screws) may be used to help promote fusion and to add stability to the spine.
During posterior cervical surgery, a portion of the bone covering the nerve may also need to be removed. This procedure is called a laminotomy.
Fortunately, these procedures can often be done utilizing minimally invasive techniques. Minimally invasive surgery uses smaller incisions and tiny specialized instruments such as microscopes and endoscopes.
With an experienced spine surgeon, the back surgery should carry a low risk of failure or complications. The success rate for back surgery for a cervical herniated disc is about 95 to 98% in terms of providing relief of arm pain.
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