Lumbar Discectomy Surgery

Explaining the Risks and Successes of Lumbar Discectomy Surgery

“You need surgery.”

That’s never a phrase that patients want to hear. Use the word “surgery” and most individuals go into panic mode. And rightfully so. While no responsible doctor recommends surgery without expecting there will be an upside and positive results, any kind of surgery carries a fair number of risks. As doctors, it’s all about letting the patient know that the successes outweigh those scary risks.

A lumbar discectomy, of course, is used to treat a herniated disc. In the case of a microdiscectomy, the surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis, usually with no extended hospital stay at all or perhaps an overnight stay in some cases. Happily, most patients can return to a fairly normal level of activity in no time at all, so – as surgeries go – it’s quite routine.

The success rate in regards to lumbar discectomy surgery is quite high. Around 90 percent of patients report no further discomfort or other issues, though statistics show that somewhere between 5% and 10% may suffer a recurrent disc herniation, either within a few months or many years later. It’s difficult to tell who may be a candidate for recurrence. When multiple disc herniation recurrences happen, the patient may be a candidate for more-complicated spinal fusion surgery.

Of course, risks are present and complications can indeed happen. A dural tear may occur, resulting in a slightly more complicated recovery period. Nerve root damage is a rare complication as is bowel or bladder incontinence due to surgical error. And there’s always the risk of infection. But these are rare.

Nonetheless, when a lumbar discectomy is recommended it is necessary to explain both the positives and negatives of such a surgery. It’s essential for your patient to understand everything about their impending surgery, including the scary stuff, though chances are you’ve learned how to emphasize the positive over the not-so-positive.

Your nervous patient will benefit from the most comprehensive explanation you can provide them about their surgery. So, it’s time to put away the poster and laser pointer and trade these tools for a lumbar model from Dynamic Disc Designs (ddd), an innovative company that offers the best in spine education products. The company’s lumbar models, such as the Professional LxH, easily demonstrate the particulars of disc herniation and are an ideal way to teach a layperson about the spine.

Models manufactured by ddd are fully-dynamic and lifelike, providing spine surgeons with a tool that allows patients to hold and manipulate the spine and, therefore, grasp how it works and what occurs during a herniation. With these models, the doctor can also demonstrate how the discectomy will solve the problem and what is necessary to maintain good disc health.

Those who use ddd’s models will tell you that they are ideal in putting patients’ minds at ease before and after surgery and are the perfect tool for explaining other spine issues as well.

Dynamic Disc Designs offers a variety of both lumbar and cervical models for your surgical spine practice. They may be ordered individually or in bundles at a reduced price. Browse ddd’s website for photos and informative videos.

ChiroHub calls ddd models: “…beautifully designed, accurate, user-friendly, and professional grade.” They add: “The quality is impressive to patients, and the ability to demonstrate and describe flexion and extension loads on a disc herniation makes a huge impact on patient compliance.  Sure, you could go get a Mr. Thrifty skeleton for less, but you’ll find yourself wishing you could actually show what happens to a patient’s disc when they lift improperly.”