Also used to treat the pain of degenerative disc disease, the lateral approach is much less invasive than some traditional techniques because it avoids going through the back and disrupting major muscles. The procedure can often be done on an outpatient basis with two small incisions in the patient’s side. Part of the damaged disc is removed, and is replaced with a bone graft implant that eventually fuses into a solid bone bridge. The process also relieves the pressure on pinched nerves in the area.