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Health and Fitness

Cervical Disc Herniation: Endoscopic Discectomy Vs. Spinal Fusion

If you suffer from cervical disc herniation, and are considering open spinal fusion, first take a good look at a less invasive option: endoscopic cervical discectomy. Even if you’ve already had unsuccessful treatments for cervical disc herniation, don’t give up; try the endoscopic discectomy, like Michelle Petigny of Manhattan did.

A car accident left her in near-constant pain in her head, neck and shoulders, and back. After 10 procedures over five years, she was still in pain. Endoscopic cervical discectomy is new and less invasive than open spinal fusion, says Dr. Kaixuan Liu, MD, PhD, chief surgeon at Atlantic Spinal Care in Edison, N.J.

In Dr. Liu’s practice, there are many patients who’ve been suffering with cervical spine issues, which in many cases cause headaches. Sometimes, cervical disc herniation responds to rest, physical therapy and painkilling drugs. If there’s no response after 8-12 weeks, most doctors will suggest surgery.

Dr. Liu explains: “At lots of places, that means an invasive procedure known as a discectomy or foraminotomy, in which a surgeon makes an incision in your neck to get to the spine and remove the disc material. This is known as open spinal surgery, as the surgeon must open up the skin, muscles and other tissue in the area to get to the problematic disc. In many cases, the surgeon may also perform a fusion, which involves the insertion of a bone graft into the now-empty disc space. This prevents the disc from collapsing and encourages the two vertebrae to grow (or fuse) into a single unit.”

And sometimes, this surgical approach works. But in many cases, these traumatic procedures fail. The failure rate is high, says Dr. Liu. In fact, Dr. Liu adds, “And if the operation fails, the patient can be left with significant pain for the rest of his or her life.”

For endoscopic cervical discectomy, Dr. Liu inserts a small metal tube (around 4 millimeter-diameter), into the patient’s spine, via a tiny incision. He uses a camera that’s inserted through this tube, to see the damaged disc, and then determines what the best course of action should be.

A large piece of damaged material can be pulled out with a grasper, and a small bulge can be laser vaporized. In most cases, patients can go home that same day, and be back to normal in a few weeks. The procedure uses local anesthesia.

Petigny says, “When I woke up after the surgery, I could already feel the difference. I didn’t have the constant pressure in my head, and the muscles in my neck and across my shoulders felt so much better.”

If you believe that in order for back surgery to fix your problem, the procedure must be invasive, you are very mistaken. Surgical techniques are being advanced all the time, and endoscopic cervical discectomy is a fine example of how spinal surgery has made progress for alleviating the pain of cervical disc herniation. With its benefits and effective results in your health, it is really important that you apply to spine surgery opportunity in Austin Texas if really needed.

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