Discectomy for a Ruptured Disc
The symptoms of a ruptured disc are largely due to the compression of nerves and blood vessels in and around the spine by the leaked matter of the intervertebral disc, as well as the irritation and inflammation directly caused by the leaked disc material. This makes it vitally important that the spine is decompressed and the ruptured material removed, often through a procedure such as a discectomy. A discectomy is the excision and removal of a fragment of ruptured and degenerative disc material or the whole of a disc that has degenerated and ruptured. Traditional back surgery for a ruptured disc is an open discectomy where an incision is made in the back, just above the problematic disc, and the surgeon moves muscles, nerves, and ligaments aside to gain access to the leaked material and remove the disc, severing the muscles and ligaments as necessary. A microsurgery technique may be available depending on the location of the ruptured disc and is, in most cases, preferable to the traditional open technique.
Ruptured Disc in the Neck
For ruptured cervical discs the anterior approach is usually preferable as the bulging material is often present at the front of the spine rather than at the back (as in most lumbar disc ruptures). This operation accesses the spine from the front of the neck and, therefore, carries a number of unique risks associated with the complex region of nerves, blood vessels, thyroid, larynx, and other cervical spinal structures. Thoracic spinal surgery may be conducted from the front of the spine but only where a skilled vascular surgeon is available. This is due to the presence in this area of both the aorta and the vena cava; major blood vessels that could, potentially, be damaged during the operation. Most thoracic spine surgeries are, therefore, conducted using a posterior approach instead.
Continued Reading: Laminectomy for a Ruptured Disc