A discectomy is a surgical treatment for herniated disks that involves removing material from the affected disk that is pressing on the nerve or spinal cord.  A herniated disk can compress or irritate nerves and lead to numbness, weakness, or pain. These symptoms may radiate down to your arms or legs and cause extreme discomfort. A discectomy works to relieve this radiation and is mainly intended for patients whose pain does not go away with conventional measures. Your doctor may recommend a discectomy if:

  • Nerve weakness makes it difficult for you to stand or walk.
  • Physical therapy, medications, and other conventional treatments fail to improve your symptoms.
  • You experience  unmanageable pain that radiates into your legs, arms, chest, or buttocks.

What Conditions Does a Discectomy Treat?

A discectomy treats ruptured or herniated disks. Most of the symptoms caused by ruptured disks go away over time with non-invasive treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications, exercise, and physical therapy. However, in some instances when the pain and symptoms do not subside over time, a discectomy may be an option.

What Can I Expect During a Discectomy?

Discectomies are usually performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be unconscious during the procedure.

  • Sometimes, a laminectomy, or removal of a small piece of bone, is performed to access the affected disk.
  • If only a portion of the affected disk is pressing against a nerve, only that portion of the disk will be removed.
  • Sometimes, the entire disk needs to be removed.  If this is the case, your surgeon may fill the space left by the disk, either using your own bone, bone from a cadaver, or synthetic bone.
  • If the entire disk is removed, your surgeon may fuse the two adjoining vertebrae together.

How Will I Recover from a Discectomy?

After your procedure, you’ll be moved to a recovery room where you’ll be monitored by medical professionals to ensure that you recover from the anesthesia and to watch for complications from the procedure.

After a short hospital stay, you’ll generally return home to recover.  It may take two to six weeks to return to work, depending on the amount of lifting, sitting, or stretching you’re required to do on the job.

You may experience some pain and stiffness after the procedure, and you may need some basic physical therapy to help you recover.

Who Performs Discectomy Procedures?

Discectomies are performed by qualified surgeons.  In some clinics and hospitals, general surgeons perform the procedure.  In dedicated spine and pain clinics, like the spine and pain clinic at EmergeOrtho: Foothills Region, discectomies are performed by surgeons who have received specialized training and experience performing spine surgeries.

Our surgeons are board-certified, fellowship trained spine surgeons who specialize in performing discectomies and other spine treatments.

As a patient with EmergeOrtho: Foothills Region, you’ll receive the best quality care in the Unifour area, without having to travel to cities like Charlotte or Winston-Salem to receive excellent care.

  • No MRI is required before you make an appointment.  We can assess you at our facility and get you treatment sooner and at a lower cost.
  • Our clinics are conveniently located around the Unifour area, so you can receive treatment without significant travel.
  • We save our clients a long drive in the event that a surgery or procedure is necessary. All surgeries and hospitals are performed at a number of hospitals in the Unifour area. These hospitals include Frye Regional Medical Center & Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory, Caldwell UNC Healthcare in Lenoir, and Carolinas Healthcare System Blue Ridge in Morganton.