How is the procedure performed?
A disc herniation may compress the nerve root against the roof of the spinal canal. The highlighted area is the bone that will be removed in this procedure. The surgeon creates an incision in the neck to expose the bony roof of the spine. Surgical instruments are used to clear away bone and soft tissue. This gives the surgeon access to the pinched nerve root and herniated disc in the spinal canal. It also reduces pressure on the nerve root. The surgeon uses a small instrument to check the freedom of the nerve. If the surgeon finds a fragment of herniated disc beneath the nerve root, it is removed. The nerve root returns to a normal, comfortable position.
To begin, you lie down and you are given medicine to help you relax. You will still be awake. That’s so you can tell your doctor what you feel during the procedure. Your lower back is numbed with local anesthetic.
Placing the Needles
The doctor uses a video x-ray device called a “fluoroscope” to carefully guide a needle into the target disc. If more than one disc is being tested, a needle is placed into each one.
Testing the Discs
Next, the doctor injects contrast dye into each disc, one at a time. The dye raises the pressure inside the discs. When this happens, you may feel pressure or pain. If you feel pain, that may be a sign that the disc is diseased. The doctor will take images with the fluoroscope so your discs can be studied carefully.
End of Procedure and Aftercare
When the procedure is done, the needles are removed. Before you leave, your doctor may want to get a more detailed scan of your discs. Discography can cause your back to be slightly sore for a few days. Your healthcare provider will give you tips to help ease this minor pain.
When should I call my doctor?
You should contact us if you experience:
- A temperature of 101.1° or above.
- Increasing redness and swelling at the incision site.
- Chest pain or shortness of breath.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Changes in the amount, appearance, or odor of drainage from your incision.
- New or increased changes in sensation/presence of numbness in extremities.
- Severe pain that is not relieved by medication and rest.
- Problems with your walking or balance
- Questions or problems not covered by these instructions