Treating A Second Disc Herniation After Spine Surgery

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 21, 2017

Recurrent Spinal Disc Herniation

When you undergo surgery for a health issue, you hope that the procedure fixes the problem and you never have to deal with it again. While surgery is successful for some people, it can fail for others. The surgery can also be successful for a while, only to develop the same problem later in life due to trauma, degeneration or a related issue. This can happen to any structure in our body, but it can affect the spine at an increased rate because of the complexity of the structure and the stress we put on it.

One specific injury that is susceptible to re-injury is a herniated disc. Today, we explain how to care for a herniated disc that occurs after it has already been surgically addressed.

Recurrent Disc Herniation

A disc herniation is typically treated with non-surgical intervention techniques, like physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, chiropractic manipulation and anti-inflammatory medications. Herniated discs usually respond to the treatment, but if they don’t, surgery may be performed. A common procedure to address a herniated disc is a microdiscectomy, which is an outpatient procedure that removes a portion of the herniated disc to relieve pressure on nearby nerves and structures. This is a highly effective procedure, but there is a small population of people who may experience a re-herniation to the same disc later in life due to overstress, degeneration, or an issue during your initial rehab.

Treating recurrent disc herniation is similar to treating the original problem. Your surgeon will begin by exploring your non-surgical options, and you may be asked to perform multiple treatment modalities, like combining anti-inflammatory medications with targeted physical therapy. If no relief is found through conservative measures after a month or so, your surgeon may again recommend surgery. This is where treatment may vary a little from the initial operation.

Surgery For Recurrent Disc Herniations

Your surgeon will walk you through your surgical options. Odds are he or she will recommend one of two options:

  • Microdiscectomy – This is the same procedure many patients undergo to treat their herniated disc. Why your disc herniated a second time and the experience you had during the first operation will dictate whether this is the best option for you.
  • Spinal Fusion – If their is greater disc degeneration to the point where it’s jeopardizing the other vertebrae or the stability of your spine, a spinal fusion may be your best bet. The problemed disc is removed and screws or rods are inserted into the spinal column to provide stability to the bones. Additionally, the hardware protects the area from excess motion that can contribute to disc herniation. Since motion is reduced with a spinal fusion, the likelihood of a subsequent herniation is greatly reduced.

So if you’re dealing with a second herniated disc, do yourself a favor and contact Dr. Sinicropi today. He can help treat you and do everything in his power to prevent the problem from coming back. Click here to get in contact with him.

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