Discectomy is surgery to remove all or part of the cushion that helps support part of your spinal column. These cushions are called disks, and they separate your spinal bones (vertebrae).
When one of your disks moves out of place (herniates), the soft gel inside pushes through the wall of the disk. The disk may then place pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that are coming out of your spinal column.
Many of the symptoms caused by a herniated disk get better or go away over time without surgery. Most people with low back or neck pain, numbness, or even mild weakness are often first treated with anti-inflammatory medicines, physical therapy, and exercise.
Only a few people with a herniated disk need surgery.
Your doctor may recommend a diskectomy if you have a herniated disk and:
- Leg or arm pain or numbness that is very bad or is not going away, making it hard to do daily tasks
- Severe weakness in muscles of your arm, lower leg or buttocks
- Pain that spreads into your buttocks or legs