Bulging disc does not generally respond to the treatment methods that are less invasive in nature. As a result of the spine or back injury, the spinal disc at times squeezes out from between the vertebrae. This condition is known as bulging disc. However, it can be put forth that the bulging disc is not at all a problem until and unless it leads to pain or numbness and weakness in the back, arms or the legs. This article discusses about what kind of surgery is done for a bulging disc.

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Types of Surgery Done to Treat Bulging Disc

It is observed that doctors generally treat patients suffering from bulging disc conservatively before they choose the option of surgery for correcting the problems. With the help of pain medication, physical therapy and rest, most of the problems related to spine heal over time. Surgery is considered as an option by the surgeons when there is little or absolutely no improvement. Surgery is also taken seriously when the problems take a serious toll and prevents the patients from indulging into daily activities. The type of surgery may depend on the particular diagnosis, the medical history, health of the person and the possible risk of complications. In order to ensure that the right option is chosen for the fulfillment of the needs, it is mandatory to educate yourself and consider the various other significant options before a plan is decided. Knowing about the types of surgery done for a bulging disc helps to take an informed decision.

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Surgery is performed mainly to treat the issue at its source whereas the conservative and the traditional therapies intend to relieve the various symptoms of a bulging disc. It is the surgeon who is capable of removing the materials which are out of place otherwise they create enormous space within the spinal canal. Surgery helps in the relieving the persistent symptoms. During the surgery for a bulging disc, the spine can also be fused if it is needed. The surgeons decide the most appropriate approach as per the body or the condition of the patient. The surgery can consist of either just one procedure or a combination of various procedures. The types of surgery which are done to treat bulging disc include:

Foraminotomy for Bulging Disc:

This is one of the commonest type of surgery to treat a bulging disc. Foraminotomy is basically a decompression surgery which is done in order to relieve the pressure on the nerves that are compressed by the intervertebral foramina, the passage through which the bundles of nerves passes from the spinal cord to the body.

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Laminectomy to Treat Bulging Disc:

Laminectomy is also a decompression surgery which is done to remove the back portion of the vertebral bone known as lamina in order to either gain access to the spinal cord or to relieve the pressure on the nerves caused by the bulging disc. This type of surgery is a major spine surgery done for a bulging disc which leaves behind scar tissues and poses a risk of causing post laminectomy syndrome.

Discectomy as a Surgical Treatment Option for Bulging Disc:

Another important surgery done for a bulging disc is discectomy. This procedure involves the removal of a portion of the bulged disc in order to relive the pressure on the nerve that causes weakness or tremendous pain. The part of the vertebrae which is above or below the bulged disc is removed by the doctors in order to gain adequate access. It might take several months before the patient resorts to physical activities; and physical therapy is indeed the requirement of the hour. Many patients, experience utmost relief after discectomy but exceptions are always there. There are some patients who continue to suffer with the same pain and problems after the surgery. If discectomy didn’t bring about any positive result, then the doctor should consider a different type of surgery for bulging disc.

Traditional vs Minimal Invasive Surgery for Bulging Disc:

Some of the surgeries of spine can be performed using both the minimal invasive techniques and the traditional ones. The traditional approach is best known as the open surgery which is quite risky. The open bulging disc surgery takes into account large incisions with the help of which the muscles at the back or neck are cut deep in order to make the surgeon access the spine. The recovery process might take long as the procedures are tedious. Patients are most likely to spend weeks in the hospital before they are discharged.

The minimally invasive surgery is just the opposite of the open surgery because here a small incision is made along with using several muscle sparing techniques. These are less traumatic in nature as the cut or the slit is minimal. It can be stated that these operations are clinically appropriate in comparison to the open surgeries. One of the major causes of a bulging disc is aging hence, the patients are not fit, or their body does not permit the traditional surgery. The nominal invasive surgery is mostly opted by the patients and surgeons due to some of its advantages:

  • The recovery time is shorter
  • The chances of infection are reduced
  • The rate of complication is low
  • Lastly, the process is not scary.

Replacing of Injured Disc to Treat Bulging Disc:

It can be highlighted that replacement of the injured disc is one of the last surgical options for a bulging disc in this regard. In this, the surgeon replaces the bulged disc with that of a synthetic disc. It helps in the reduction of the risk and frees the patient from any problem in the future which might require any therapy or surgery. This replacement is indeed the last option reserved for a patient who does not find any effective result after surgeries and treatments. Discs are also replaced when the discs of the patients have degenerated or worn thin to the extent where it is no longer suitable for the softening of the vertebrae. This kind of surgery is done for a bulging disc, only after proper evaluation and is a delicate one.

Now that you are aware of the various tpes of surgery done for bulging disc, you can discuss about the most suitable one with the treating doctor. There are hospitals that help patients to relieve from the symptoms of bulging disc. These spine health centers enable the patients to get back to their normal and regular lifestyles with effective advice. Future back problems can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and by using suitable techniques of lifting. Strong abdominal muscles along with back muscles help in supporting the spine. It is advised that exercise should be done regularly to protect the back and prevent back problems.

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: March 28, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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