Am I at risk for reherniation?

I am so grateful that I could go back to sports again. Be together with my teammates. That was the greatest thing to me. - Pictured: Ina, real Barricaid® patient since 2017.

Herniated disc

A herniated disc – sometimes known as a slipped or a ruptured disc – refers to a problem with one or more of the soft cushions (discs) between the bones (vertebrae) that make up your spine. A disc is a little like a jelly donut, with a soft, gel-like center (nucleus) inside of a tough outer part (annulus).  

A herniated disc occurs when some of the softer disc material pushes out (herniates) through a weakness or hole in the tough outer part. If the disc herniation is large enough, the disc material can press on the nearby spinal cord or nerves. This can result in shooting pain (sciatica), numbness or weakness in one or both legs and sometimes back pain.

Treatment options

If you have leg pain caused by herniated lumbar discs, non-surgical alternatives include medicines such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain-killers, oral and injectable steroids. Your doctor may also prescribe rest, exercise, and physical therapy. If your pain will not go away or gets worse, or if you start having nerve problems such as numbness, your doctor may prescribe surgery.  Surgical alternatives vary, depending on your disc herniation, how much back pain you have, and other factors. The most common surgery is discectomy when your surgeon reaches the damaged disc from the back of the spine—through the muscles and bone.

Less frequently your doctor may recommend a fusion or artificial disc replacement.

Am I at higher risk for a repeat herniation?

Despite discectomy surgery generally being a highly successful procedure, certain patients are at a higher risk of recurrent herniation following surgery. Many of the risk factors for recurrent herniation are patient-related, such as age, smoking, gender, and diabetes. However, a large hole in the outer ring of your disc (annulus) more than doubles the risk of symptom recurrence and reoperation.

If the hole in your disc is larger than a standard pencil-top eraser, you stand a significantly larger chance of reherniation – and a return to debilitating pain. Most reherniations occur within two years of surgery.

The burden of repeat surgery

It is generally understood that outcomes following repeat surgery are not as good compared to a first surgery and should therefore be avoided if possible. Reoperation for recurrent herniation is often associated with worse clinical outcomes, patient morbidity, and work loss.

It doesn’t have to be this way

A new treatment now exists, which was specifically designed to close the large hole often left in the spinal disc after discectomy. Barricaid is the first FDA approved device to close large annular defects and is proven to reduce reoperation for reherniation by 81%.2 Because this is a new technology, your surgeon may not be aware a solution exists.


  1. LE Miller et al. Association of Annular Defect Width After Lumbar Discectomy With Risk of Symptom Recurrence and Reoperation. Spine 2018
  2. Some studies outside U.S. indications. Values at Minimum 1 year PostOp. For citations and published studies, please visit

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