Disk removal is one of the most common types of back surgery. Diskectomy (also called discectomy) is the removal of an intervertebral disk, the flexible plate that connects any two adjacent vertebrae in the spine. Intervertebral disks act as shock absorbers, protecting the brain and spinal cord from the impact produced by the body’s movements. Purpose Removing the invertebral disk is performed after completion of unsuccessful conservative treatment for back pain that has been present for at least six weeks. Surgery is also performed if there is pressure on the lumbosacral nerve roots that causes weakness, bowel dysfunction, or bladder dysfunction. As a person ages, the disks between vertebrae degenerate and dry out, and tears form in the fibers holding them in place. Eventually, the disk can develop a blister-like bulge, compressing nerves in the spine and causing pain. This is called a “”prolapsed”” (or herniated) disk. If such a disk presses on a nerve root and causes muscle weakness, or problems with the bladder or bowel, immediate disk removal surgery may be needed. The goal of the surgery is to relieve all pressure on nerve roots by removing the pulpy material from the disk, or the entire disk. If it is necessary to remove material from several nearby vertebrae, the spine may become unsteady. In this case, the surgeon will perform a spinal fusion , removing all disks between two or more vertebrae, and roughening the bones so that the vertebrae heal together. Bone strips taken from the patient’s leg or hip may be used to help hold the vertebrae together. Spinal fusion decreases pain, but decreases spinal mobility.