Fixing Sciatica With Surgery
Anyone with sciatica will point out how painful and debilitating the condition can be. Some persons ignore sciatic pain or fail to use enough non-surgical treatment. Over time, the pain becomes too much to bear, and surgery ends up being the next step. All surgical procedures have risks, and spinal surgery is no exception. However, results will show that the risks do not outweigh the pain-free rewards.
Your nerve is in a pinch
Simply put, sciatica is pain that moves down the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerves are a pair of nerves that run down each leg. This nerve is the largest in the body and starts at the lower spine, runs down the buttocks, thigh, and lower leg. Most often, sciatica happens when a herniated disc in the lower spine presses on the nerve. In some cases, a narrowing of the spine called spinal stenosis can cause sciatica.
Look for these sciatica symptoms
The most significant symptom of sciatica is a burning nerve pain that radiates down the leg. Other symptoms include numbness, inflammation, and difficulty sitting or standing for long periods. The good news is that sciatica responds well to non-surgical treatment. But severe cases can lead to weakness in the leg and even poor bowel control. At this point, surgery may help with pain and other symptoms.
Addressing the nerve pain with surgery
A patient with sciatica may need spinal surgery, which will correct the root cause of the issue. Most procedures involve microdiscectomy. Using a minimally invasive procedure, a spinal surgeon removes a part of the damaged disc. Surrounding bone protrusions, called bone spurs, are also removed. In cases of spinal stenosis, the surgeon removes one or more pieces of bone. A laminectomy removes a part of the bone called a lamina, while a facetectomy removes the facet joints. Based on X-rays and other tests, the surgeon may combine procedures for the best results.
Is surgery the pain-free solution?
Surgery will remove the pinching or pressure on the sciatic nerve. After a detailed recovery period, surgical patients should feel a noticeable difference in pain and discomfort. Sciatica surgery has a high success rate. A discectomy has an 84% satisfaction rate on average. Surgeries for spinal stenosis like a facetectomy or laminectomy have similar success rates. Statistics show as many as 90% of patients experience relief. The relief is also long-term, meaning persons can have a better quality of life.
Stop sciatica in its tracks
Sciatica must be addressed quickly, starting with conservative treatment. If left untreated, sciatica can cause weakness and numbness, limiting mobility. By removing the pressure on the sciatic nerve, pain relief is inevitable. Furthermore, minimally invasive surgery means faster recovery and less pain. For symptoms related to sciatica, speak with a healthcare provider who can help with nerve pain.