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Five disc extrusion surgery alternatives

Disc extrusion surgery is offered to certain individuals who are experiencing severe, long-term symptoms as the result of an extruded disc. However, surgery is generally considered a last resort. Outside of rare emergency situations, conservative (nonsurgical) treatment is the preferred approach. Physicians usually recommend medications, exercises and other such options to their patients, and only if these treatments do not produce the desired results does surgery become an option.

Conservative treatments to consider before surgery

In the initial stages of treatment, patients have a number of alternatives to disc extrusion surgery. Five common conservative treatments include:

  1. Over the counter medications (e.g., acetaminophen and ibuprofen)
  2. Prescription medications (e.g., narcotic pain medications)
  3. Physical therapy
  4. Epidural steroid injections (administered alone or in a series)
  5. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, if applicable

Most people who have an extruded disc can manage their symptoms through a combination of the above options. There are, however, some patients who do not obtain the necessary pain relief from conservative treatments. If nonsurgical therapies are unsuccessful, surgery may become an appropriate next step.

Alternatives to traditional open spine surgery

Disc extrusion surgery doesn’t always mean undergoing an open spine operation. While traditional surgical techniques do require the tissues in the neck or back to be cut, certain minimally invasive procedures can help patients avoid this tissue damage (and the extensive recoveries that often follow).

At USA Spine Care, we perform minimally invasive surgeries in which a surgeon can make a less-than-1-inch incision and use a muscle-sparing approach to access the extruded disc. As a result, our procedures have shorter recovery times^ than traditional open spine procedures, as well as lower infection rates. The majority of our patients are up and walking within a few hours of surgery.

If you’ve already explored nonsurgical treatments and would like to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient disc extrusion surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today.

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