Herniated Disk Surgery
For most people, a herniated disk surgery is not necessary to treat their medical condition since home treatments will suffice. For 10 percent of herniated disk sufferers, however, surgery is life-altering and life-saving. If you belong to the latter category, then it pays to know of the following facts of surgery before discussing the details of your case with the surgeon.
Even if you have the time and money to avail of the surgery, most doctors will caution against it because of the risks involved. As such, you must meet the following stringent requirements before you can be considered for any of the types of herniated disk surgery:
* You did not respond to the conservative treatments for at least 4 weeks. In fact, your persistent leg pain increased in severity, which is the most severe symptom of a herniated disk. As a consequence of the severe pain and weakness, you are unable to perform your daily activities.
* Your doctor's physical examination reveals that your herniated disk has lead to weakness, loss of motion and even blurred vision, and abnormal sensitivity.
* Your diagnostic tests indicate that you are indeed a candidate for surgery.
You have to discuss your condition in relation to you age, severity of symptoms and their impact on your quality of life, overall health and lifestyle before deciding on the options of herniated disk surgery. Keep in mind that as much as there are benefits to it, there are attendant risks.
When it comes to surgical choices, your doctor should discuss the following options. As much as possible, you have to understand the risks and benefits associated with each one, starting with this basic outline. First, discectomy is the most effective herniated disk surgery for many people especially those with severe pain that adversely and significantly affects their quality of life in relation to range of movement. Second, laminotomy and laminectomy are performed to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerve and spinal cord, thus, significantly alleviating the symptoms of a herniated disk. This is often performed on age-related cases of herniated discs than on spinal cord injuries. Third, percutaneous discectomy is a herniated disk surgery that significantly lessens the size of the disk herniation. If your doctor recommends this technique, ask for another one as studies have shown that it is not as effective as the other two methods.
Before you consent to the operation, you have to accept that all types of surgery involve a balance of risks and benefits. You have to determine your willingness to take on the risks against the benefits especially as this is your spinal cord that stands to benefit and is at risk. When and where possible, always ask for a second opinion especially when the recommended disk surgery involves the destruction of the ruptured disk. Also, be aware that you might have a second surgery after the first surgery.
A herniated disk surgery must be made in close coordination with your doctor. You have to discuss your options even when you do not understand all the things related to the spinal cord. Just like any responsible patient, it is your right to know whatever will be done on your body. So, ask questions.
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