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Deformity correction

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How causes a disc herniation to occur?


The answer is extremely varied it can happen from a strong sneeze, picking up an object from the floor, or did some trivial physical activity resulting in a herniated disc. A normal disc does not herniate like this, but with discs that are diseased are susceptible to trivial injury that can result in symptoms.


What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?


Typically, a herniated disc causes radiating leg symptoms. Generally, this is what people refer to as sciatica or radiculopathy. If this pain continues down the knee into the foot, this is indicative of a more serious herniation and you should seek a consulatation with a spine specialist.


What is the difference between a herniated disc and a bulging disc?


There is no specific definition for the term herniated disc, bulging or protruded disc. Scientific studies indicate that individual spine specialists utilize these terms interchangeably. More helpful definitions are the terms contained or non-contained disc herniation. A non-contained disc herniation indicates a disc has herniated material that is no longer connected to the main portion of the disc. A contained disc is a disc herniation that still has connections to the main disc. These definitions are very helpful in terms of the surgical treatment and prognosis of someone who has a disc herniation.


What is the management-do I need surgery?


Most disc herniations resolve on their own. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends that 6 weeks of conservative management usually results in resolution of the symptoms but if the patient does not recover then surgery is considered. Conservative measures are medication and Transforaminal epidural injections.


How quickly can I expect to recover from surgery?


A herniated disc operation performed to relieve severe radiating leg pain typically has relief of leg pain in a matter of hours or days. Often it may take months to recover the sensation or motor deficits of a herniated disc and sometimes this never happens. Most surgeons would ask the patient to refrain from extensive lifting, twisting, bending and stooping for 4-6 weeks following a disc operation, at which point normal activities can be started again. A fusion operation often takes 4- 6months for bone fusion. Therapy for each patint is individualized to help achieve the best results.