If I Have a Pinched Nerve, Am I a Surgery Candidate?
Whether or not you are a candidate for pinched nerve surgery will depend on a variety of factors. Your doctor will need to consider your age, your general state of health, the severity of your pinched nerve, which conservative treatments have been tried, and whether you have undergone any previous surgeries for spine conditions, among other variables. If you prove to be a good candidate for surgery - spine surgery is almost always considered an elective procedure - you will then need to consider the different types of procedures that are available to you.
Types of Pinched Nerve Surgery
All forms of pinched nerve surgery will share the common goal of relieving neural compression, regardless of whether the compression is being caused by a herniated disc, bulging disc, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, or spondylolisthesis. However, each surgery will take a different approach to decompression. Possibilities include:
- Laminotomy - Ythis involves removing a portion of or an entire lamina (a bony plate on the vertebral arch) and any bone spurs that may have formed on it to widen the spinal canal and make room for spinal nerves.
- Discectomy - this involves removing a portion of or an entire intervertebral disc that is either herniated or bulging and causing neural compression.
- Foraminotomy - this involves widening an intervertebral foramen. The intervertebral foramina are open passageways on either side of vertebrae that allow spinal nerves to pass as they branch off nerve roots. A foraminotomy removes bone or tissue material that is constricting the space.
Exploring the Different Procedures
There are different approaches to all of the above forms of pinched nerve surgery. For instance, an open spine discectomy that requires the removal of an entire vertebral disc is usually accompanied by spinal fusion, which involves a bone graft and the implantation of stabilizing hardware. However, a minimally invasive form of this procedure is available, in which endoscopic technology removes only a portion of the disc without the need for a large incision, hardware, bone grafts, or fusion. No matter which procedure you require for your pinched nerve, be sure to gather as much information as possible about the different forms that procedure can take and their respective risks and benefits.
To learn more about minimally invasive, outpatient procedures aimed at relieving neural decompression in the spine, Contact Laser Spine Institute.