Steven C. Dennis, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Steven C. Dennis, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon located in Newport Beach, CA

While a severely herniated disc can hinder your ability to move and leave you in great pain, the procedure to remove a herniated disc, called a discectomy, is one of the most successful types of back surgery. Luckily, Steven C. Dennis, MD, in Newport Beach, California, is here to help you figure out if a discectomy is right for you. To learn more, call Dr. Dennis to schedule your consultation or request an appointment online.

Discectomy Q & A

What is a discectomy?

A discectomy is a surgical procedure to correct or remove the damaged part of a herniated disc. While more conservative measures can often provide relief for those with herniated discs, severe cases typically require surgical intervention.

How does a discectomy work?

Discs serve as cushions between your vertebrae, but when a disc is badly damaged, it can bulge out, placing pressure on a nearby spinal nerve. This causes pain, weakness, tingling, and other similar symptoms.

During a discectomy, the portion of the disc that is pressing against your spinal nerve is removed. In some cases, there might need to remove the entire disc in order to relieve this pressure.

Who needs a discectomy?

Many people suffering from herniated discs do not need surgery for treatment. In fact, most people with herniated discs don’t even suffer from symptoms. However, Dr. Dennis might recommend a discectomy for your herniated disc for a few reasons:

Conservative treatments fail to work

Prior to surgery, Dr. Dennis will recommend physical therapy, steroid injections, and other pain relieving options to improve your symptoms. In some cases, these treatments might not provide the desired results.

Ambulatory problems

Excess pressure on the spinal nerves can lead to weakness and difficulty standing or walking.


Without effective treatment, pain from a herniated disc can become too great to manage.

What can I expect during a discectomy?

For many cases of herniated discs, microdiscectomy may offer the best choice. During a minimally invasive discectomy, a small incision is made over the offending disc and a camera can be inserted into the operating site through a small tube. Once the disc is located and confirmed,  the offending disc material is removed using other small surgical tools inserted through the tubular opening.

If your entire disc requires removal, the space between your vertebrae may be replaced with bone from your pelvis or donor bone or artificial material. These bones are then fused and will be augmented oftentimes with metal hardware.

You will be under sedation for the entirety of the operation and you can generally expect to spend a few days at the hospital. You will be able to return to work within 4-6 weeks for most jobs, though you might need to spend longer recovering if you have a job that requires heavy lifting or if you received a spinal fusion.

Is a herniated disc preventing you from enjoying the activities you love? Call Steven C. Dennis, MD, in Newport Beach, California, to schedule your consultation or request an appointment online.