Artificial Disc Replacement and Discectomy Syndrome
Artificial disc replacement surgery can help with Discectomy Syndrome, when additional surgery is needed, as it is performed ventrally (from the front), which gives clear access to the troubled area to the surgeon. Patients with loss of disc height and non-emergency herniations can avoid Discectomy Syndrome with Artificial Disc Replacement as their first surgery.
Discectomy or more accurately called a partial discectomy or disc nucleoplasty in conjunction with a laminotomy (often mislabeled a laminectomy) is the most common surgery applied when a spinal disc has a catastrophic herniation. These herniations compresses the radicular nerves and nerve roots, which can generate high levels of pain. In some cases it can even compress the spinal cord. Often a surgery is needed to decompress the nerves and nerve roots.
While a partial discectomy can provide immediate relief to the patient, it is often not a long-term solution. The disc has been weakened, which often leads to a second herniation. The disc usually flattens, like a leaky car tire, and brings other spinal structures in contact with nerve roots.
Internal and external scar tissue are a part of any surgery. Internal scar tissue, epidural fibrosis, created by the discectomy surgery can become entangled with nerves and nerve roots and press on nerves and nerve roots, which leads to pain. Discectomy Syndrome refers to this entanglement and/or pressure. Heat related discectomies (such as a LASER disc decompression surgery) can increase the amount of scarring.