Sciatica surgery typically is a last-resort method for managing the symptoms of sciatic nerve compression. These symptoms might include lower back pain, pain that radiates into the buttocks, legs or feet and tingling or numbness in the lower extremities. The symptoms generally are manageable through conservative treatment, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), exercise and stretching. If chronic symptoms remain debilitating after several weeks or months of conservative treatment for sciatic nerve compression, surgery might become an option.
How sciatica surgery relieves symptoms
Sciatica is caused by sciatic nerve compression, which can arise because of a number of conditions within the lower (lumbar or sacral) region of the spine. These issues are often related to wear and tear, although traumatic injury might also produce a similar effect. Age-related degenerative spine conditions that could cause sciatic nerve compression include:
- Bone spurs (osteophytes)
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Spondylolisthesis (vertebral slippage)
- Ligament calcification
Sciatica surgery is designed to remove the source of nerve compression, but there are different ways to approach a surgical procedure, including both traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive procedures.
Traditional open back procedures versus minimally invasive spine surgery
The type of sciatica surgery a patient will undergo depends on several factors, including overall health and the cause of the sciatic nerve compression. No matter what form the surgery takes, patients should go into the experience with as much information as possible.
Traditional open back surgery for sciatica is highly invasive in nature, requiring a large incision, overnight hospitalization and a long recovery period. Minimally invasive procedures, like those performed at USA Spine Care, can be performed with a less than 1-inch incision and other muscle-sparing techniques. Patients who undergo our outpatient procedures experience shorter recovery periods^ and a reduced risk of complication compared to traditional open back surgery. To learn more about our facilities and highly skilled surgeons, contact us today.
We’re happy to offer a no-cost MRI review* to help determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.