What is the treatment?
Spondylitis is a chronic condition that causes severe back pain, damages the nerves and can even lead to degenerative neurological symptoms. Doctors rarely resort to surgery for the treatment of spondylitis. But in certain cases, spinal surgery for spondylitis becomes essential. Some of the symptoms of spondylitis include chronic back pain, leg pain and in some cases, difficulty in walking.
If other methods of treatment such as injections, physical therapy, and medications have been proven ineffective, then the doctor will suggest surgery. There are many types of surgeries for the treatment of spondylitis. The two main types of surgery are for decompression and stabilization. The decompression method involves removal of the tissue that is causing the pain while the stabilizing surgery fuses the spinal cord in order to grant more control over movement.
The surgery procedures that are available for the treatment of spondylitis include; laminectomy, facetectomy, foraminotomy, discectomy and many others.
The main surgery that is used in the treatment of spondylitis is called a laminectomy. The procedure involves removal of nerves and bones from the spine in order to enlarge the spinal column. This relieves the pressure and also helps to alleviate the pain.
Laminectomy decreases the pressure from the spinal cord by removing some part of the lamina. The lamina is the bony plate that covers the spinal canal and cord. In spondylitis, the lamina could be pressing against the spine, and this pressure leads to severe pain and other symptoms.
How is the treatment done?
A laminectomy is one of the most common surgeries performed on the spine. It is a decompression surgery that helps create space in the spinal canal. The doctor might ask you to avoid eating or drinking for a few hours before the surgery.
For the procedure of laminectomy, the surgeon will administer the patient with general anesthesia. This ensures that the patient is unconscious during the procedure and does not feel the pain. The patient will be able to breathe with the help of a breathing machine.
First, the surgeon will make an opening in the back to expose the spine. The surgeon will then remove parts of the spinal cord such as the vertebra, lamina, and ligaments that are causing the compression of the spine. Once the surgeon creates this space, the spinal canal will be enlarged allowing the process of decompression.
In some cases, the surgeon may have to remove a herniated disc or fuse the spine together using a special implant. This fusion process enables stabilization of the spine and involves widening the openings in the spinal canal for the nerves to exit. However, this is only required for some patients.
Once this process is completed, the surgeon stitches the incision over the spine and closes the wound. When the surgery is over, the anesthesia is switched off and the breathing machine is removed.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
People who are eligible for a laminectomy would include:
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
People who might not be eligible for a laminectomy surgery could be:
Are there any side effects?
There are a few health complications and risks that could result from a spinal surgery like a laminectomy. However, some of these side effects might not affect all patients. The possible side effects are as follows:
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
There are certain guidelines that a patient should follow after the spinal surgery. After the surgery, the patient is kept under observation for a period of 1 to 5 days. The vitals of the patient are monitored, and any improvement or deterioration is observed.
The patient will experience pain in the back and the affected area for some time. The doctor will prescribe certain medication to relieve this pain. These medications are strong. Hence, it is advisable not to undertake any activity like driving a vehicle, traveling in a plane or riding a bike for a few weeks after the laminectomy.
The patient should keep the incision wound clean and go for a follow up two weeks after the surgery. The doctor will then remove the stitches.
How long does it take to recover?
The recovery process for spinal surgeries is slow; it is better to be patient and wait for your body to heal. Rushing the recovery process might aggravate the condition. It might take a few weeks or even up to several months to fully recover. The patient might not feel any improvement just after the operation. The wound from the incision will take a week or two to heal.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
The treatment for spinal surgery in India is very affordable. The price for a laminectomy surgery in India would range from Rs 5,500 to Rs 10,000.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
In most cases, the patient does get relief from the chronic back pain. The symptoms of spondylosis are alleviated. However, the symptoms may recur after a period of time. There are some cases in which the condition does not improve and can even deteriorate. The results and improvement are discernible only six weeks after the treatment.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
The alternative procedures to a laminectomy are cervical laminoplasty, cervical disc replacement surgery or laser spine surgery.