Did you know that 40 percent of people will experience sciatica pain throughout their lives?1 Most cases will resolve themselves over time, while severe pain can require medical intervention.
Sciatica symptoms appear when pressure is placed on your sciatic nerve as it leaves your lower back and runs down your leg. Problems with your lower spine, such as a herniated disc or a bone spur, often cause this.
If you have tried treating sciatica pain with physical therapy, injections, and medications without relief, it may be time to consult a spine surgeon. Minimally invasive spine surgery for sciatica can relieve pressure on nerves and ease the pain. Standard options include microdiscectomy and laminectomy.
- Microdiscectomy (Discectomy): This minimally invasive operation takes place in a hospital or surgery center and typically requires around one hour to complete. A microdiscectomy is often necessary for people suffering sciatica pain from a herniated disc. A microdiscectomy occurs through a small incision, a segmental tubular retractor, and dilators are inserted through small incisions retracting muscles while providing a channel for the surgery without cutting the muscle. This technique minimizes damage to the muscles and soft tissues and decreases blood loss during the surgery. Most people will go home the same day following a microdiscectomy. To speed surgical healing, it's often recommended that patients begin walking within hours of surgery.
- Decompressive Laminectomy: The lamina is the vertebrae's back part that helps protect the spinal canal. During a laminectomy, both sides of the laminae are removed, along with the spinous process in the middle. This procedure relieves pain by opening up space for your nerves. This minimally invasive surgery is done for sciatica pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis. With more room in the spinal canal, the tissues surrounding the nerve can receive ample blood flow, along with the oxygen and nutrients that the blood supplies. This procedure allows for the effective regeneration of the damaged nerve. An estimated 75% to 90% of patients may experience pain relief after lumbar laminectomy surgery.2 Patients are also encouraged to walk several hours after the surgery, and will return home the same day for optimal healing.
Patients who have experienced a great deal of pain and dysfunction for more than a few weeks after conservative treatment options, may be candidates for minimally invasive decompression surgery. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery can often lead to less pain and shorter recovery times, getting you back to living an active life quicker.
The Spine Clinic of Oklahoma City offers comprehensive total spine care including non-surgical treatment options and advanced minimally invasive spine surgery using the latest technology. For more information, please visit www.thespineclinicok.com or call (405) 424-5415.
Dr. Brett Braly is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in spinal surgery. Dr. Braly is a leading advocate for minimally invasive techniques in spine surgery. Dr. Braly is named in the top “20 under 40” best spine surgeons by the North American Spine Society.