Discectomy vs. Laminectomy

By Dr. Robert Josey on October 31, 2018

Compression of the spine, vertebral discs, and vertebraeWhen dealing with a major health problems that affects the spine, it’s sometimes necessary to operate. Our Austin, TX surgeons carefully tailor spine surgery to the needs of each patients, focusing on the nature of their health issue and what can be done to effectively address it. Sometimes this will involve a discectomy or a laminectomy.

The team at Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin would like to consider the differences between discectomy or a laminectomy surgeries. This will give you a better idea of how we approach every procedure, and what these treatments entail.

What Is a Discectomy?

A discectomy (or diskectomy) is performed on the discs of the spine. The procedure removes the herniated portion of a vertebral disc. The vertebral discs are the spongy tissue between the vertebrae that function as shock absorbers for the spine.

When Is a Discectomy Performed?

A discectomy is recommended after a person has experienced a herniated disc and the bulging portion of the disc compresses nerves or the spinal cord.

Usually the procedure is recommended when the herniated disc causes problems walking or standing, causes pain or weakness to radiate out to your extremities, or conservative treatment of a herniated disc proves ineffective.

The Results of a Discectomy

Most patients who undergo a discectomy noticed reduce symptoms of compressed nerves following a herniated discs. Many of these patients will notice that pain that spreads to the limbs is much more manageable and less of an issue.

What Is a Laminectomy?

A laminectomy is a surgery that involves removal of the lamina, which is the back portion of the vertebrae covering the spinal canal. The surgery is helpful for bone spurs of the spine that are commonly associated with arthritis.

When Is a Laminectomy Performed?

If a person suffers from arthritis of the spine, there’s a risk of bon spurs developing along the vertebrae.

Bone spurs could result in added pressure along the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This can lead to numbness or weakness in the extremities. The laminectomy is ideal when more conservative treatments are ineffective for patients.

The Results of a Laminectomy

Like the discectomy, many patients who undergo a laminectomy notice reduced symptoms of compressed nerves related to bone spurs and compression. The pain and numbness that spreads to the extremities is less of an issue.

Do I Need a Discectomy or Laminectomy?

Generally speaking, you need a discectomy if the problem is related to the vertebral discs, and a laminectomy if you have problems with the back of the vertebrae. Both surgeries receive pressure on nerves and the spinal cord, but they address different structures.

The sure way to know if a discectomy or a laminectomy is right for you is to visit our practice for a consultation. We can discuss these matters in greater detail.

Learn More About Treating Back Problems

To learn more about spine surgery options and which would be most ideal for you and your needs, be sure to contact Orthopaedic Specialists of Austin. Our team is here to help you. You can reach our locations in Austin, Cedar Park, and Lakeway at (512) 476-2830.

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