MRI of a 49-year-old lady with a herniated disc at L5-S1 level (low back) pressing on the nerves supplying the leg
Disc herniation commonly known as a herniated disc or slip disc or disc prolapse is one of the most common problems affecting the spine. It is a condition where the disc between two vertebrae comes out of its normal position and irritates the spinal nerves. The slipped disc in the low back can cause sciatica (shooting pain in legs), weakness and at times it can cause loss of control over urine. In the neck, slip disc can cause pain in arms and weakness and sometimes can lead to imbalance while walking. At times, these symptom can be highly painful. It needs a skills and experience of a spine surgeon also known as a spine specialist to diagnose and treat this condition
However, the good news is that most patients with disc herniation do not need spine surgery. They get better with rest, pain medications and supervised physiotherapy protocols. A small percentage of patients may need spine surgery.
These patients can be treated with a microscopic surgical procedure called Microdiscectomy. In this procedure, a small fingernail size cut is made on the lower back and the herniated disc is removed and spinal nerves are decompressed. This surgery is very safe, takes 45 minutes and patients start walking on the very same day after the surgery.
Typically patients can be discharged on the same day or the very next day after surgery. The post-operative recovery is smooth and patients can resume their work within a week’s time.
Dr. Mayur Kardile
Spine Surgeon and Spine Specialist in Pune, India