What is a Discectomy?

  • Post category:Spine Health

William Capicotto, spine surgery, spine surgeon, discectomy, herniated disc treatment

Discectomy & A Herniated Disc

Surgical Procedures in Buffalo, NY To Correct A Herniated Disc

The human spinal column or backbone, consists of a group of bones, called vertebrates that protect the spinal cord. In between a person’s vertebrae are gelatinous intervertebral discs that help cushion the spine and act as shock absorbers to prevent the vertebrae from rubbing against one another.  A herniated disc occurs when the gel-like center (nucleus) of an intervertebral disc pushes through the tougher outer layer (annulus). Occasionally a herniated disc will put pressure on a nerve in the spinal column causing pain or discomfort. If the pain or discomfort from a herniated disc is severe enough, it may require surgical intervention. To fix nerve compression caused by a herniated disc within the spinal column, a Discectomy may be performed.

What is a Discectomy?

A discectomy is a surgical procedure performed when a patient’s condition worsens and non surgical treatments like physical therapy fail to make an impact. During a discectomy, a patient is given a general anesthetic. The surgeon will then make a small, minimally invasive, incision on the patient’s back at the appropriate level of the affected disc. Using a special x-ray, the surgeon will then insert a wire followed by a series of tiny tubes equipped with small tools including a camera and light into the intervertebral space. The surgeon then works to remove the herniated part of the disc as well as perform any other needed repairs. Once the surgeon is finished, the tools are removed and the small incision is closed and bandaged.

Recovering from a Discectomy

A typical discectomy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. While you may need to stay in the hospital or clinic for a few hours after the procedure, most patients will be able to go home the same day to recover. The doctor or surgeon will provide a comprehensive recovery plan tailored to your specific needs. Depending on where the surgery is performed and what nerves and discs were affected, some patients may be back to work in as little as a week with restrictions to limit lifting or bending, while other patients may need physical therapy as part of their recovery plan. Be sure to follow all of your doctor’s orders and advice to maximize your recovery efforts.


A discectomy is performed with the goal of reducing the pain and discomfort associated with nerve compression caused by a herniated disc. While a discectomy fixes the damage caused by a herniated disc, it doesn’t address the underlying issue that caused the initial herniated disc. To avoid reinjuring your spine, certain lifestyle changes may need to be made, such as losing weight, adhering to a low impact exercise program, or limiting activities that involve repetitive bending, twisting or lifting.

William Capicotto MD, PC: You Go-To For Spine Surgery

The office of William Capicotto MD, PC is committed to improving the lives of our patients by reducing pain and discomfort. Don’t let let chronic back or neck pain control your life, call our office today for a consultation at (716) 881-0382.