While most problems that cause back pain and sciatica can be treated successfully without surgical intervention, sometimes spine surgery is necessary. Below is a brief explanation of these common surgeries.

Discectomy – The last resort to surgery that works the best for people with really bad pain that has not responded to other treatments. The surgeon removes the material that is pressing on the nerve root or the spinal cord.

Microdiscectomy – A smaller incision is made by the surgeon and it does not cause as much tissue damage.

Percutaneous Discectomy – A special tool is inserted in a very small incision to remove the material that is pressing on the nerve. This method is not considered as effective as the Discectomy. Weinstein JN, et al. (2006).

A damaged disc is like a smashed jelly donut!

Lamina – The part of the vertebrae that forms a protective arch over the spinal cord which is very thin. Age-related changes (which start in your mid-twenties and includes the drying out and formation of cracks) in the lamina causes back pressure or back pain.

Laminiotomy – A procedure that removes part of the lamina.

Laminectomy – Removing most or all of the lamina with possible removal of the tissue that is narrowing the spinal canal.

Your water hose becoming “clogged up” due to calcium deposits is comparable to what can happen in your spinal canal, “aka” spinal stenosis.

Author: Deborah Goza, MS, RN, COHNS, CCM
Edited By: Lisa Perry