Many disc surgeries superfluous?
Several intervertebral disc operations are not necessary and could just as well be treated with pain or movement therapy. What many experts in this country have been propagating for a long time is now being confirmed by the results of a randomized study in the USA.
Researchers led by James Weinstein at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover had compared the condition of operated patients with that of spinal disc patients who had undergone non-surgical therapy over a period of two years. In both groups, the pain improved within this period, they concluded. Although the condition of the operated patients was generally better than that of the alternatively treated patients, it was only slightly.
Partial or complete removal of a slipped disc is one of the most common surgical procedures for patients with back or leg pain in the USA. According to statistics, however, there are large differences in the frequency of operations between individual regions and also internationally, which, according to the researchers, raises questions about the best method.
In Germany, too, more than 70,000 operations are performed on the intervertebral disc every year. According to experts, many of these procedures are unnecessary and could be replaced by non-surgical forms of treatment such as physical therapy. The pain is often only a matter of time, since the intervertebral disc consists largely of water and the prolapsed tissue shrinks after a while and the pressure on the nerve decreases. According to experts, however, an operation is unavoidable if severe paralysis of the legs or bladder occurs.(bf)