On Wednesday, Mark Stone underwent a surgical procedure to repair a back issue that has been plaguing him for several years and basically ruined his 2021-22 season.
The Golden Knights announced Thursday that the lumbar discectomy surgery was a success and added he is expected to be ready to play for the regular season.
We consulted our resident injury expert, Dr. Caleb Pinegar of Crovetti Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine to give us more information on anything and everything surrounding this type of surgery.
Here’s the full Q&A with Vegas Sports Doc, Dr. Pinegar.
How do you pronounce lumbar discectomy and what is it?
When you say it you say the word “disc” first then “ectomy” which means removal. So lumbar discectomy means they’ve taken part of the disc out of the vertebrae.
Between every bone of the spine is a little shock absorber and each of those shock absorbers is pretty stout and strong but if you take the wrong hit or fold or just actively mobilize the spine while you change positions and if you do it just right you can squirt this little inner shock-absorbing material out of the rim that’s supposed to be real strong.
Wait, “squirts out”?
Yeah. The material is called the nucleus pulposus. It’s a jelly-like substance that looks like crab meat. So this little gooey stuff squirts out of your shock absorber and it causes the nerve near it to get really inflamed and irritated or it’s big enough of a squirt that it will pinch the nerve and cause the nerve to not work.
The initial major injury happened in October and then he came back multiple times and played. So do we think this “crab meat” shot out then?
Probably. The odds are very good that disc herniations get better over time. They don’t necessarily go away but the body can reabsorb some of the disc material and if you give the person time, anti-inflammatories, steroids, and physical therapy a lot of people can skip the surgery. So for the period of time he was out, they were probably trying to calm it down. If the symptoms calm down and the person isn’t having any shooting pain and they just have the ache of back pain, you can play through it. But if you don’t get it to go away then you can just say, let’s go get that piece. They do a minimally invasive incision and clean out that torn disc.
Does taking a part of the disc out fix the problem for good?