Back surgery for a herniated disc as a result of a work-related traumatic injury or from job duties over time is not as common as it was ten years ago, but it is done if medically necessary and reasonable under. This is a medical not a legal determination. As workers compensation attorneys, we work with the facts we have and obtain workers compensation benefits for injured workers in cases with or without surgery. The most important factors are strong causation and realistic permanent restrictions under the circumstances.
If the symptoms are mild and there is no danger they’ll get worse, surgery is not usually recommended. However, if signs appear that pressure is building on the spinal nerves, surgery may be required, sometimes right away. The signs doctors watch for when reaching this decision include weakening in the leg muscles, pain that won’t ease up, and problems with the bowels or bladder.
Laminotomy and Discectomy
The lamina forms a roof-like structure over the back of the spinal canal. In this procedure, a thumbnail-sized piece of the lamina is removed (laminotomy) so the surgeon can more easily take out the problem disc (discectomy). This procedure is mainly used when the herniated disc is putting pressure on a nerve and causing pain to spread down one leg.
Microdiscectomy is becoming the standard surgery for lumbar disc herniation. The procedure is used when a herniated disc is putting pressure on a nerve root. It involves carefully taking out part of the problem disc (discectomy). By performing the operation with a surgical microscope, the surgeon only needs to make a very small incision in the low back. Minimally invasive surgery is thought to be less taxing on patients. Advocates also believe that this type of surgery is easier to perform, that it prevents scarring around the nerves and joints, and that it helps patients recover more quickly.
Posterior Lumbar Fusion
Lumbar disc herniation causes mechanical pain, the type of pain caused by wear and tear in the parts of the lumbar spine. Fusion surgery is mainly used to stop movement of the painful area by joining two or more vertebrae into one solid bone. This keeps the bones and joints from moving, easing mechanical pain.
In posterior lumbar fusion, the surgeon lays small grafts of bone over the problem area on the back of the spinal column. Most surgeons will also apply metal plates and screws to prevent the problem vertebrae from moving. This protects the graft so it can heal better and faster.
McCormick Law Office in Milwaukee, Wisconsin workers compensation attorneys obtain the best workers compensation settlements when the facts are consistent with the law as applied in the particular case.