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Diskectomy is the surgical removal of the damaged portion of a herniated disk in your spine. A herniated disk can irritate or compress nearby nerves and cause pain, numbness or weakness — which may radiate down your arms or legs. Diskectomy works best on these radiating symptoms. It's less helpful for actual back pain or neck pain.

Most people who have back pain or neck pain find relief with more conservative treatments, such as pain medications or physical therapy. Your doctor may suggest diskectomy if conservative treatments haven't worked or if your symptoms worsen.

There are several ways to perform a diskectomy. Many surgeons now prefer a type of diskectomy that uses small incisions and a microscope for viewing.

Jul. 07, 2011