Patients who have failed conservative treatment and who have pain in the buttocks, hips and thighs or sciatica with imaging of the spine demonstrating narrowing of the spinal canal or a herniated disc are candidates for this procedure.
Under general anesthesia, your doctor would expose the spine and remove a small portion of the bone in the spine to expand the previously narrowed spinal canal. This relieves pressure from the nerves. In the case of a discectomy, the doctor shaves off a portion of the disc that pinches the nerve. Both of these procedures relieve pain.
You may be in the hospital for 3-5 days for monitoring. You will work with physical therapy during that time. Some patients may need rehab after surgery. This decision may be made in the hospital or after your follow up with your doctor at the 6-week visit.
There are risks associated with any procedure:
- Spinal fluid leak
- Nerve injury
- New back or leg pain
- Recurrent disc herniation
Prior to the procedure
- Exercise is encouraged.
- Discontinue blood thinners such as aspirin, Plavix, Motrin, Aleve, Coumadin. Avoid weight loss supplements and fish oil.
- Quitting smoking and/or drinking 6 weeks prior to the procedure is encouraged.
After the Procedure
- Your doctor may ask you to wear a back brace and limit your activity for 6 weeks as the spine heals. These restrictions include no bending, lifting, or twisting.
- Contact your doctor of there is fever, bleeding or drainage from the wound.