Spinal surgery, also known as lumbar surgery, concerns any kind of surgery conducted on the lower back. There are two types of lumbar surgery: lumbar fusion and lumbar decompression.
The main objective of a lumbar decompression surgery is to ease the pain caused due to neural impingement (pinched nerve). This pain is referred to as sciatica or radiculopathy. This involves removing a tiny part of the bone above the root of the nerve to address the pinching of the nerves. The commonest types of a lumbar decompression surgery include discectomy and microdiscectomy.
Lumbar fusion concerns itself with easing the pain at a particular portion in the individual’s lower back. Mostly, this type of a surgery is carried out in the case of any disability or pain from spondylolisthesis or a lumbar degenerative disc condition. This technique uses a bone graft to thwart any type of movement in the painful part of the vertebra that in turn takes care of the pain that was caused due to the movement. Bone stimulators, bone grafts, and other medical devices are used in this surgery.
A Lumbar Microdiscectomy is one of the most important minimally invasive surgical procedures carried out to ease pain from pinched nerves. Firstly, a minor incision is made in the patient’s lower back and the affected part (that is in contact with the pinched nerve root) is removed. It has a pretty high success rate (of about 90-95%) in alleviating pain. Often times, the patient experiences instant relief from pain. However, for some, the symptoms might not resolve completely.
A Lumbar laminectomy, on the other hand, is performed to address lower back stenosis symptoms. In this technique, the lamina (the bone that is present at the back of one’s vertebra) at one or multiple segments is taken out that in turn prevents any further pressure to be put on the nerves in the spine.
Spinal surgery is carried out because:
There is no non-eligibility criterion as such. If the patient experiences pain from a pinched nerve or spinal instability, he/she should consult a spine surgeon and consider the decision of a spinal surgery. However, if any evidence of an anatomic cause isn’t detected through a CT scan or an MRI scan, then spinal surgery should be avoided. In a nutshell, there must be some anatomical lesion that can be considered to be the reason behind such a pain. At the end of the day, however, it is completely the patient’s discretion whether or not to go for spinal surgery.
The possible side effects and complications depend on the patient’s age, the overall state of health, the type of procedure opted for and the problem that is being treated. Some of the possible side effects are:
After the spinal surgery, the patient will be kept under supervision for a few days. If the patient is recuperating at home, bed rest would not be required. A back brace might be prescribed by the doctor for you so as to speed up the recovery process. Rehabilitation post-surgery can take its own time. Usually walking, swimming and riding a static cycle are some of the activities that constitute the rehabilitation program.
Post spinal surgery, recovery can take about 4 months’ time. This is because the bones take the time to heal completely and the healing process may continue over a period of one year. In the case of a spinal fusion, the doctor will recommend one to be off work and other activities for about a month or even more (approximately 4-5 weeks); especially if the patient is young and is in otherwise good physical shape.
The cost of spinal surgery in India lies in the range of approximately Rs.4, 22,500- Rs.6, 17,500.
Spinal surgery is important to render stability to the spine after any trauma, accident or injury. However, there isn’t sufficient research about whether it works as effectively for other problems of the spine as well. Studies have failed to come up with stark differences in the way this surgery and intense rehabilitation would work for chronic problems. Though it does provide relief from quite a few problems with the back, it will always be wise to consult with the doctor regarding the risks and benefits, given that it is a costly surgery and entails its fair share of side effects.
The possible alternatives include:
Minimally invasive spinal surgery is a quicker and safer alternative to open surgery. The spinal discs, vertebrae and nerves are present deep inside the body. A small incision is made and the surgical instruments and a camera is inserted which push aside the muscles and reach the problem area.
Which medical conditions can be addressed with minimally invasive spine surgery?
1. Degenerative Disc Disease (osteoarthritis of the spine)
2. Herniated Disc (the disc protrudes from its right place)
3. Spinal Tumours
4. Vertebral compression fractures (collapse of the vertebra)
5. Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space near the spinal cord)
6. Scoliosis (the spine curves sideways)
7. Spinal infections
8. Spinal instability
What are the goals of minimally invasive spine surgery?
1. Decompression: this procedure eases the pressure being exerted on the spinal cord or the nerve roots. This pressure can be the cause of pinched nerves.
2. Stabilization: sometimes, a segment of the spinal cord that has come loose can be the source of pain. A stabilizations surgery fuses the segment to the rest of the structure.
The three most common methods of minimally invasive spine surgery are-
1. Tubular: it is also called ‘muscle splitting’ surgery. A tubular retractor passes through the muscles of the back and reaches the spine.
2. Mini-open: it is a lot like open surgery but with fewer risks and blood loss. The possibility of post-operation infection goes down significantly.
3. Endoscopic: it is also called a keyhole surgery. A small camera is introduced through a small incision and guided to the spine. The camera gives an internal view of the spine to the doctors.
The three types of Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery are-
1. Microdiscectomy: involves the removal of the intervertebral disc that is putting pressure on the spinal cord.
2. Foraminotomy: spinal conditions can lead to narrowed foramen (the area where the spinal nerve exits the spine). The aim of the surgery is to expand the foramen.
3. Microlaminectomy: this is yet another type of decompression surgery. The aim is to relieve pain caused pinched nerves or a segment of the bone pressing down on the nerves.
What are the benefits of minimally invasive spine surgery?
• Speedy and pain-free recovery after surgery
• A patient is discharged the same day
• Very little loss of blood
• Reduced chances of infection
• Less scarring because the operation is done through small incisions
• Less muscle damage
Are there any risks attached to minimally invasive spine surgery?
No surgery is free of risks or side effects. Some common problems in the aftermath of minimally invasive spine surgery are-
Minimally invasive spinal surgery incorporates the latest advances in the world of technology. It is the relatively hassle-free procedure and convenient for both doctors and patients.
A spinal cord injury involves damage to the spinal cord either from trauma, loss of the normal blood supply, or compression caused by a tumor or infection. These injuries can either be complete; wherein there is a complete loss of sensation and muscle function in the body, below the level of the injury or incomplete; wherein there is some remaining function below the level of the injury. In most cases, both sides of the body are affected equally.
Classification of the spinal cord injuries
Several cases of spinal cord injury are treated with surgery. The two major goals of surgery involve relieving the pressure on the spinal cord and stabilizing the spine.
Quick recovery from spinal cord injuries
Damage to the spinal cord often causes inflammation of the surrounding tissues. A smooth and quick recovery can be achieved by promptly addressing the inflammation post-injury. Following tips can help regain a normal range of motion, promote fast healing, and eliminate pain:
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
There is hardly any individual who hasn't suffered from back pain at some point or the other, and lower back pain is considered one of the prime factors for which people might want to miss a day of work. The source of the pain could range from herniated disk to muscle spasm to osteoarthritis. What’s worse, it could be benign or cancerous spine tumor. Even though spinal cord tumors are quite rare, when it occurs, it could be life-threatening. If caught early, it is possible to treat spine disorders effectively and therefore, it pays to know a few important facts about spinal cord tumors.
Not always your back pain is a sign of spinal cord tumor. However, in the case of a persistent back pain along with other symptoms, a doctor’s opinion must be sought. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
What is spinal compression fracture?
Spinal compression fractures are getting frequent due to the many lifestyle changes which we undergo. The body should not be made to be put use in a certain way like posture, lifting heavy weights, etc. However, prolonged and repeated usage affects the spine directly and results in compression fractures. Though the condition looks, gratifying, modern science has advanced to levels where the fractures can be addressed very effectively, and the pain symptoms can be eradicated almost completely. Let us have a summary about the treatment methods.
The treatment plan of any spinal compression fracture should effectively highlight the pain, the factors leading to the pain and lastly the fracture itself. Our body has been designed in such a way that the spine can withstand an amount of pressure and force. As a result of it, it is one of the strongest parts of the human body. Hence most the fractures heal with pain medications and strength exercises. These activities can be embraced as a permanent one- thus eradicating the pain altogether.
Pain killers are administered gradually for a few weeks along with rest and once the pain subsidises strength exercises are imparted as a part of the treatment plan. In few cases, anti-inflammatory drugs and antidepressants can also help in relieving the nerve related pain. A back brace like an easily removable cast can also be put when doing the usual activities. This, directly stiffness the spine and provides it with support. The pressure to the spine can be greatly relieved due to the back brace.
These blocks of cement have a tendency to get strong in a matter of minutes, thus relieving the pressure immediately. Spinal fusion surgery is done in extremely rare cases where two or more vertebras are connected together using metal screws. Sometimes even a bone graft is affixed to provide support to the fractured region. Doctors, however, do not go for it usually as the procedure causes extreme inconvenience even after the treatment.
Spinal compressions are a frequent occurrence nowadays, and as good physician would suggest prevention is better than cure. Making the much-needed changes to life and the activities we perform can drastically reduce the chances of getting a spinal compression fracture.
Humans are prone to much more complex and extensive experiences in life than any other animal species, this is because we also enjoy highly developed cognition and mental abilities in comparison to the other species. However, our cognitive abilities also mean that we are more prone to bad experiences and health issues that may require intensive treatment or even at times surgeries.
Having to undergo a surgery may sound like an exceptionally difficult or painful prospect, but with the help of modern medical practices and the use of state of the art technology and equipment, there are times when patents are able to get excellent results. One among many such advanced practices is the use of minimally invasive spine surgeries.
There may be times when we may injure ourselves or may develop health issues that make it difficult for us to go about our daily lives and at such times a surgery on the spine may be required. It is however, risky to carry out a full-fledged surgery on the spine because of the fact that our movements in general and the central nervous system may be put at great risk when the spine is tweaked or worked with. This is one of the biggest reasons why modern medical practitioners suggest and prefer carrying out the minimally invasive surgery.
Understanding the practice:
In order to be able to develop a conviction for the practice, it is important to make sure that you understand the practice in general. As the name suggests, the surgery is done in a manner in which large incisions are not made on the spinal region and the procedure is done only by the creation of a small hole. The surgery is carried out with the use of non-conventional tools that can be manoeuvred through smaller openings and the process is carried out with the help of a small incision around the spinal region.
Advantages of the minimally invasive surgery:
As opposed to the regular open surgery, there are a lot of advantages for the patients that opt to undergo the minimal surgical procedure.
As we step into an era of advanced medical practices, it may be important to quickly adopt and adapt to the new age practices so that a better future for patients may be carved out and established all across the world. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult an orthopedist.