A simple operation, the solution for a herniated disc

Tuesday December 12, 2023, 09:56

A herniated disc can turn a person’s daily activity into a real ordeal. This causes lower back or neck pain and can affect virtually all routine movements. But this spinal pathology has a solution. Initially, conservative treatments are chosen, but if they are not effective, a simple operation can put an end to the pain.

Dr. Francisco Fasano, head of the Spine Surgery Unit at Asunción Klinika, details the symptoms presented by patients suffering from a herniated disc and explains how to treat it. “Herniated discs fall into the category of degenerative pathologies”, which is why “we are used to seeing elderly people in consultation”. Generally, a herniated disc “causes lumbar or cervical pain, given that these are the most mobile segments of the spine” and as for the causes of the pathology, these are linked “to different genetic factors or environmental factors that promote these types of symptoms. “. The aforementioned pain manifests itself “with varying degrees of intensity” and begins to be treated “with analgesic.” When the pain persists, “it can spread to the arms and legs and even sensory and motor disturbances or damage to the sphincters may appear.

When symptoms appear, it is important to “perform a good physical examination and resort to additional studies such as MRI, which will give us different types of diagnoses on the basis of which we will make decisions.”

Effectiveness of conservative treatment

As Dr. Fasano explains, once the diagnosis is obtained, “we begin a line of treatment, going from the least invasive part to the most invasive part. The first is a conservative treatment based on analgesics, accompanied by muscle relaxants, certain opiates or morphines, and a rehabilitation program. The doctor wishes to emphasize that “between 80 and 90% of pathologies improve with conservative treatment”.

In the remaining percentage, patients “are candidates for infiltrations or blockages. Depending on the symptoms, different techniques can be implemented to improve the pain. “We usually do the blocks guided by scanned images, as it is a much more specific technique.” If these techniques are not effective, “the possibility of surgical treatment is considered. “We always try to perform a minimally invasive procedure because these techniques involve less tissue damage and faster recovery, as well as fewer complications.”

The risks of these interventions “are the usual risks of any type of intervention, also depending on the levels to be treated.” The procedure usually lasts about an hour and a quarter and can be considered as an outpatient procedure or with an early discharge of 24 hours: “The recovery period is approximately one month, including physiotherapy and post-operative recovery.”

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