A lumbar discectomy is a highly effective treatment for patients who have a herniated or bulging disc in the lower spine. At Austin Neurosurgical Institute, accredited neurological surgeon Thomas Loftus, MD, FAANS, performs this minimally invasive surgery to relieve your pain and help improve daily function. Often, a lumbar discectomy is performed along with other procedures like lumbar fusion or artificial disc replacement. To find out if you’re a candidate for a lumbar discectomy, call the Austin, Texas, office today, or use the online tool to book a consultation.
Between each of the bones of your spine (the vertebrae) sit cushiony discs that add mobility and support. If one of these discs dries out or grows weak, the soft, inner part of the disc may leak out and irritate your spinal cord and nerve roots.
During a lumbar discectomy, Dr. Loftus removes part or all of the damaged disc to reduce pressure and inflammation. He uses a minimally invasive approach with small incisions and tiny instruments. Minimally invasive procedures result in faster recoveries, less scarring and blood loss, and less pain.
In some cases, a discectomy is the first step in your spinal surgery. If appropriate for your case, the doctor then replaces the damaged disc with a bone graft (fusion) or an artificial disc.
If you have a herniated or degenerated disc in your lower back that’s causing pain, tingling, or weakness in your legs, a lumbar discectomy may be a treatment option. Usually, Dr. Loftus recommends the surgery when other more conservative treatments, like medications or physical therapy, fail to help you get relief.
Not all cases of back pain can be resolved with a lumbar discectomy either. Dr. Loftus carefully reviews your case, medical history, and general health before recommending the surgery as a treatment option.
The minimally invasive surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you go home the same day to recover. You receive comprehensive post-procedure care instructions, including information about movement restrictions like limiting lifting or bending.
You may need to wear a back brace for a short period of time after the procedure. Once you’ve healed from the initial surgery, you benefit from physical therapy to strengthen your back.
Immediately after the surgery, pain medications help you control any discomfort. Once you heal, you should experience a reduction or disappearance of back pain.
To find out more about whether a lumbar discectomy is the right procedure for you, call Austin Neurosurgical Institute or use the online tool to schedule.