The patient is placed facedown on the surgical table. A three to six inch incision is made in traditional openings, or a minimally invasive approach may be made using very small incisions and a tubular retractor to gain access to the damaged disc.
To gain access to the damaged disc, all or a portion of the lamina is removed. This exposes the disc for access and removal.
Remove Damaged Disc
The damaged disc nucleus and annulus is removed, but the disc wall is left mostly intact to help contain the bone graft material.
Bone grafts and/or allograft material (morselized bone) is placed inside the disc space. The bone grafts help restore disc height and relieve pressure on nerves causing pain.
To maintain stability and hold the graft in position, the surgeon may add rods, screws or other surgical constructs, for additional support. Additional bone graft may be added along the sides of the spine.
The allograft material helps your body grow bone around the implants and creates a natural bony bridge that connects the two vertebrae. This solid bridge of bone is called a fusion.