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A 36-year-old member asked:

how serious or dangerous is a herniated disk?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Bolesta
Orthopedic Surgery 40 years experience
Depends: It depends on size, location, and how large your spinal canal (channel where the nerves and spinal cord are). If it pushes on your spinal cord and affects its function, it is potentially very serious. If it pushes on a nerve and there is enough irritation to lose strength and feeling that is progressive or severe, it is also a problem. Most herniations are not this serious, improving with time.
Dr. Thomas Dowling
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 40 years experience
Usually not dangerou: Most herniated discs are self limiting & get better with 10% going on to surgery. Most are not serious or dangerous with only 1% leading to a condition related to bowel/bladder control issues known as a cauda equina syndrome that requires emergent surgery. Occasionally, disc herniations in the thoracic & cervical regions can lead to spinal cord compression or myleopathy that also needs surgery.

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A 21-year-old member asked:

How does my doctor know I have a herniated disk?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Roger Frankel
Neurosurgery 29 years experience
Exam, MRI: If your complaints and physical examination suggest a disc herniation, the diagnosis can be confirmed with an mri.
A 21-year-old member asked:

How does a surgeon treat a herniated disk?

10 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Stan Lee
Dr. Stan Lee answered
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 23 years experience
Multiple options: A herniated disk can be treated surgically by minimally invasive excision of the fragment. Prior to resorting to surgery, there are numerous nonsurgical treatments that may help including medications, therapy services, and spinal injections. Herniated disk surgery can almost always done on an elective basis, so be sure to get thoroughly informed and weigh all options prior to surgery.
A 29-year-old member asked:

Which method is used to treat a double layer herniated disk?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jonathan Hyde
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 29 years experience
Depends: The term "double layer herniated disk" is not commonly used. Terms commonly used are contained, extruded, and sequestered. In cases with a disc recurrence after surgery, the MRI may show the new herniation encased in post-operative scar (a two layer effect). The treatment for each of these pathologies may vary depending on symptoms and the anatomy.
A 31-year-old member asked:

Does a herniated disk get worse over time?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Olivier Frankenberger
Cardiology 27 years experience
Not necessarily: If you continue with physical therapy and avoid/limit activities that impact more on the disc it should stabilize and minimize related discomfort/problems.
CA
A 34-year-old member asked:

How long does it usually take for a herniated disk to heal?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Weston
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 31 years experience
Symptoms resolve but: I dont think of the disc as healing ever but herniation can be reabsobed and the nerve irritation calmed and symptoms reolve in 6 weeks to 2years. Look up the sport trial for disc herniatiions. Non op and op groups the same outcome at 2years op group . Op group got better faster.

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Last updated Jun 23, 2020

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