Differences: Discectomy or Fusion in Work Comp
What is discectomy or fusion in work comp and why do I need one? Many times people recover from low back injuries without the need for surgery. Sometimes, however, surgery is necessary. When surgery is recommended it is typically either discectomy or fusion.
Discectomy in Workers’ Compensation
A discectomy (or microdiscectomy) is often recommended when a person has radicular pain radiating into his/her legs. It is typically more effective at relieving leg pain than just low back pain. In a discectomy, the surgeon allows for more nerve space which relieves pressure, and hopefully the patient’s leg pain.
Lumbar Fusion in Workers’ Compensation
However, if a person has primarily low back pain and also has spondylosis or degenerative disk disease, a lumbar fusion may be recommended. In a lumbar fusion, the surgeon will stop the motion of a painful vertebral segment in hopes of decreasing the pain. Fusions can be done in a posterior or anterior fashion and may involve several vertebral segments (for example L4-5 and L5-S1).
It is important to have a skilled doctor perform any surgery. Medicine and surgery is an art and a science!