When Should Herniated Disc Surgery Be Considered?

When you have a bulging disc it can progress to leakage of the inner gel causing significant nerve damage. If the pain gets so severe that it becomes unbearable and restricts your daily activities, it becomes herniated disc treatment which may well include surgery. Because of the many successful treatments of other types, herniated disc surgery becomes the last resort for this type spinal injury treatment.

Disc surgery should only be considered as a last resort, and you should only consider this path once other treatments and remedies have been exhausted. A herniated disc is a progressive stage of a very common back and neck spinal injury, and its severity can range significantly.

In most cases, surgery will not be required at all and there will be plenty of treatments that you could take up in order to remedy the issue.

When your doctor may recommend back surgery for a herniated disc

For your doctor to actually recommend that you take a surgical path, they will want to confirm the disc has actually progressed past bulging to herniation. They will want to know that you have tried other treatments first. These will include medications, injections, physical therapy, spine decompression therapy, exercise, and many others.

Through one or more of these particular methods most people will find that their condition is rectified. Unfortunately there will be that unfortunate few who will need to take further action. Those who are suffering from severe pain and have suffered nerve damage that is restricting the activities in their daily lives will likely want to consider surgery as their last resort. This may be cervical disc surgery (of the neck), or severely injured disc surgery in other areas of the spine.

Often, one of the most prominent reasons a person opts for surgery is not the actual severity of the injury, but their level of pain tolerance. A herniated disc in the lower back is likely to result in more decisions for surgery than those in the thoracic or middle section of the spine.

Most common types of herniated disc operations

There are a number of different types of herniated disc surgery procedures that may be needed for a herniated disc. Your neurosurgeon will pick the most appropriate one for your condition. Most commonly, the approach will be to have a laminectomy and a discectomy.

If you have a laminectomy then portions of the vertebrae within your spinal cord will be removed in order to allow additional space for the nerves.

A discectomy includes the part of the vertebrae pressing against the spinal cord being removed. This is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. A fusion of the different vertebrae may also be conducted in order to reduce the chances of any recurrence of the problem. There are also now much less invasive and traumatic state of the art methods of doing some surgeries today.

The video below described and performed by Dr. Ali Byden of John Hopkins is a minimally invasive lumbar discectomy.


The main benefit of having either of these types of surgery for a herniated disc will be that after rehabilitation has been conducted you can likely return to your daily activities as if you had never had a problem in the first place. You may continue to feel pain after the operation, but this will generally only be for a brief period, and in most cases you should be fully healed fairly quickly.

This should not be an assumption, but a statistical hope after following all doctor’s orders for rehabilitation.

Check this post for more comprehensive information on the actual recovery process after herniated disc surgery.

Misconceptions about herniated disc surgery results and after-effects.

There are certain assumptions and misconceptions associated with this type of surgery as well. While it’s true that many people simply return to normal after surgery, this is not always the case. Often nerve damage can be so severe that pain can continue to occur even after the surgery has been completed.

While the main issue may well have been rectified, it could be that you will require physical therapy in order to restore as much of your normal function as you possibly can. In addition, many sufferers will feel let down by the amount of time that it will take to recover, although this will differ between patients. Staying determined and only accepting a positive outcome will make a world of difference in your recovery.

At the end of the day, having herniated disc surgery is the last resort that you should consider if your pain is getting unbearable. However, in most cases you will find that the problem is fully rectified and your movements are fully restored once the surgery and rehabilitation has been completed.

Like all other options listed on this web site, your confidence in the outcome is critical to getting back to an active, vital lifestyle in the minimum amount of time.