Nerve damage along your spine can cause painful symptoms that limit your mobility and ability to continue your daily tasks normally. The situation arises when your vertebral discs bulge out, in a condition known as a herniated disc. As a patient with a herniated disc, you must seek treatment immediately to prevent further medical complications and irreparable damage to your nerves and spinal cord.
Therefore, a laser discectomy procedure is suitable, as it removes the bulge area on your disc to promote full recovery. The procedure is minimally invasive yet highly effective, making it a great option if you are looking for a lasting remedy. Planning for a laser discectomy requires you to consult with a skilled and experienced doctor who understands the specific treatment details applicable to your case. Working with a trusted doctor gives you better chances of a speedy recovery with minimal chances of a recurrent condition.
At Dr. Rappard’s Practice, we dedicate ourselves to providing excellent spinal treatment procedures to help you recover your posture and for pain relief. Our team specializes in performing laser discectomy procedures, among other spinal treatment processes, to remedy herniated discs and prevent nerve damage along the spine. With our help, you can expect your pain and numbness symptoms to reduce over time, giving you a chance to rebuild your life.
The Relevance of a Laser Discectomy Treatment
When you suffer from constant lower back pain, it may be because of a bulge forming on your intervertebral disc. Your spinal skeletal structure comprises small hollow discs called vertebrates stacked together from your neck to your lower back. The discs are visible when you bend your back, allowing for easier identification of the problem area in the case of a condition.
Vertebral discs provide structural support for your spinal cord by allowing it to pass through the long, hollow passage they create. When exposed to extreme pressure from lifting heavy loads, accidents, or wear and tear, your vertebral discs may weaken and bulge out. The bulge causes pain by pinching and pressing on surrounding nerves, resulting in constant back pain.
Bulges may also occur from aging, insufficient body nutrients, and infection exposure. These causation factors may cause the vertebral fluid that keeps the discs healthy to dry out, resulting in friction and subsequent bulging.
A laser discectomy treatment, therefore, aims to remedy the condition by evaporating the disc. In doing so, the pressure on compressed nerves eases, promoting reduced pain and numbness in the affected area. Your doctor eliminates disc prolapse, meaning your spine still provides the necessary support to maintain your posture.
The procedure is often effective, as it only targets the bulging disc using laser energy. The precision of treatment prevents overexposure of other areas along the spine, thus reducing risks during surgery.
Persons in Need of a Laser Discectomy
Back pain may occur for multiple reasons, and some patients may experience it temporarily. If you experience recurrent back pain, you need to consult with a specialist to determine the primary cause of the discomfort. Seeking professional advice is essential even when the back pain is mild, as not all patients experience the same symptoms.
Your doctor will recommend a laser discectomy after making the initial diagnosis. You are likely to qualify for treatment if you present any of the following symptoms:
Recurrent Pain on a Specific Section of Your Back
General back pain is common after engaging in a demanding physical task like lifting heavy loads or standing for long periods. You are more likely to experience the condition if you rarely engage in demanding activities, but the pain subsides after you rest your back.
On the other hand, recurrent back pain without engagement in physical activities can indicate a possible herniated disc. The symptoms arise from the bulging disc's constant contact with your nerves.
Your pain levels may also vary over time, with increased pain after any activity requiring constant spinal engagement. Based on this, you need to seek professional services to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment.
General Weakness in the Affected Area
With continued nerve compression, you may also experience general weakness and numbness in the affected area. If so, the symptoms may indicate the severity of your case, making it essential to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The general weakness and numbness may also extend to the surrounding areas, as the compressed nerves often serve an extended surface area. For example, if the herniated disc is near your lower back, the sensations can extend to your leg and cause weakness and numbness.
Over time, you will experience less functionality in the affected limbs as the nerves do not relay brain signals as required. Treatment to alleviate the situation is critical to prevent long-term nerve damage.
A Burning Feeling On Your Back
You can also distinguish your pain from regular back pain or pain caused by a herniated disc based on its intensity. For the latter, patients often report a burning sensation that indicates the extreme pressure on their nerves from the bulging vertebral disc.
The burning pain does not dissipate even with management processes like massages or pain medication, making it necessary to consider a laser discectomy. The persistence of pain is a standard indicator of needed surgery, as your doctor may have tried other treatment options before turning to laser discectomy treatment.
Preparation Procedures Before Treatment
You need to complete several pre-treatment processes before your laser discectomy to ensure you are a suitable candidate for the process. Undergoing preparation procedures also reduces the risks you may face by equipping the specialist with all relevant information for your case.
Compliance is essential as you prepare for laser discectomy treatment, so you need to provide all the information that could help achieve successful treatment. Some necessary preparation procedures to undergo include:
Trying Recommended Treatment Remedies
Since surgery is often a last-resort option, your doctor may start you on pre-surgical treatment options like medication and therapy to reduce the prolapse bulge. They often do this if the condition can be resolved with treatment based on their initial assessment.
Pre-surgical treatment can last a few months, and you will undergo several review appointments to monitor your progress. A slow or low response to the initial treatment will trigger your doctor to recommend a laser discectomy.
Undergoing a Physical Examination
A physical examination is among the first steps to receiving laser discectomy treatment, as it allows your doctor to establish the problem area. They can also run several physical tests to check your overall spinal health by exerting pressure at different points on your back. With a comprehensive exam, your doctor can plan an accurate treatment procedure that improves your chances of making a full recovery.
Taking X-Ray Images
The position of your vertebrae along the spine is essential as a reference point for treatment. You will thus have X-ray images taken to provide the medical team with accurate information on the herniated disc's location.
X-ray images can also reveal whether you have additional prolapses needing medical attention, as you may not always experience symptoms. Carefully analyzing your entire spinal structure lets your doctor know the exact areas to target for successful treatment results.
Providing Your Medical History
Your doctor benefits significantly from receiving your medical history details, as they give guidance on what to do or avoid during surgery. Your medical history ranges from any underlying medical conditions to your genetic history. It also includes your current or past medical prescriptions as well as any known allergic reactions you have.
By providing all relevant details, the medical team can determine the most suitable medication to provide as local anesthesia during treatment to cater to your needs. Further, the specialist handling your case can determine any genetic factors or past medical conditions that triggered the herniated disc. Based on this, your treatment may include additional steps to reduce the chances of a recurrent bulging disc.
You can also share your lifestyle circumstances before treatment, as they may be relevant to your diagnosis and treatment. For example, if your work involves lifting heavy loads or exposure to high-impact sports, your doctor can suggest alternatives to prevent you from experiencing a recurrent spinal problem.
What to Expect During the Laser Discectomy Procedure
A laser discectomy treatment is minimally invasive and concludes faster than traditional surgical options. This allows you to access same-day treatment and release, depending on the doctor’s recommendations.
The laser discectomy begins with a heart rate and blood pressure analysis to ensure you are in good condition to proceed. These steps take minutes to complete, and the medical team will keep you updated while you are awake.
To access your back, you will undergo a discectomy on your stomach, where the specialist applies local anesthesia to the targeted area. You can thus expect to remain awake throughout the process, and you will receive directives to assume specific positions when necessary.
After cleaning the targeted area, the specialist makes an incision through your skin to prepare for tool insertion. They use a tool called fluoroscopy to introduce a small camera into the targeted area to identify the prolapsed area causing a bulge correctly.
Upon locating the targeted area, your doctor will insert a small needle through the hollow passageway of surrounding discs to the posterior of the targeted disc. The needle creates a path for the subsequent insertion of the laser device to evaporate the disc prolapse, so the medical team must insert it accurately.
When the needle is positioned on the posterior disc area, the laser probe will fit into it, allowing the doctor to direct laser energy at the disc prolapse. The energy is sufficient to cause evaporation and, thus, reduced bulging, alleviating the painful symptoms you experience.
Once the evaporation is complete, the doctor removes the hollow needle and laser probe, completing the treatment process. They will then suture the incision and place a small bandage to protect the wound in readiness for recovery.
Risks Associated With the Procedure
Although the medical professional handling your laser discectomy applies high skill levels during treatment, they should notify you of potential risks during the procedure. Providing the details is an ethical requirement to help you make an informed decision if you consent to the treatment.
Reported risks while undergoing laser discectomy treatment include:
- Losing excessive blood after incisions.
- Nerve damage from exposure to laser energy.
- Suffering an infection in the operated area.
- Experiencing blood clots in the affected area.
The incidents rarely occur despite the notification of risks, except in extreme cases where patients had unknown conditions before treatment. Thus, you do not have to worry about experiencing the same outcomes, as your medical team will provide quality services.
Aftercare Tips to Follow for Faster Recovery
After a laser discectomy, your doctor will advise you to follow some aftercare tips to increase your recovery speed. Following the directives also protects you from medical complications, allowing you to return to your everyday life. Some pointers to consider include:
- Attending all follow-up appointments.
- Cleaning the suture wounds.
- Avoiding heavy loads and high-impact exercises for a few months after surgery.
- Resting your back in a proper posture.
Contact a Neurointerventional Surgeon Near Me
Living with a spinal condition can be limiting, as you constantly experience pain, numbness, and discomfort in the affected area. You may also have to adopt an improper posture as a reaction to the back pain, exposing you to potential medical complications in the future. By seeking laser discectomy treatment, you can treat the affected area by vaporizing the bulge that causes nerve compression. The low-risk procedure allows you to begin your recovery process within a few hours after its completion. Before the surgery, you must undergo various preparatory processes, including a comprehensive diagnostic examination. You will also benefit from understanding the different treatment steps that your doctor will apply. Working with a skilled professional is crucial, as the laser discectomy procedure requires access to the delicate spinal cord area.
At Dr. Rappard’s Practice, you will receive the skill and care required to successfully undergo your laser discectomy process. Our years of practice have equipped us to undertake spinal treatment processes with a high success rate, making us your top choice. You can also count on us to provide additional support after the procedure to help you recover fully. With our help, you can expect to treat the bulges causing herniated discs. Our services are available to anyone seeking laser discectomy treatment in Los Angeles, California. For more information, contact us at 424-777-7463.