Spine Surgery

Spine Surgery

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Spine surgery is a rare initial treatment for back pain but there are some emergencies that are likely to require surgical treatment. In majority of patients, such surgery is considered after a long course of traditional and conservative therapy. As back pain usually takes some time to resolve, rushing to spine surgery may not be the perfect idea. Usually, doctors recommend at least 3 to 6 months of conservative treatment before taking into account spine surgery. There are various types of spine surgery and these include:

  1. Spine Fusion- This is a surgery that is performed to associate together individual vertebrae within the spine. When the vertebrae have a problem, the doctor may advise this procedure to eradicate the movement that exists within that area of the spine.
  2. Lumbar disc replacement- This procedure is considered by doctors as unsafe compared to cervical disc replacement surgery. This is a new treatment option for some types of low back pain.
  3. Lumbar discectomy- A discectomy is a procedure that involves the removal of a herniated disc from the spinal canal that causes the nerve pressure. A certain fragment of the normal spinal disc is expected to be dislodged when a disc herniation exists.
  4. Foramenotomy- This is performed to relieve nerve pressure by pinching the nerve with more than just herniated disc. This procedure removes a part of the bone and some tissues that compress the nerve as it gets out from the spinal column.
  5. Laminectomy- This is performed to relieve spinal cord pressure. This is usually used to treat conditions like spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis.

Spine Surgery Risks and Complications
Complications of spine surgery are always a risk and this must be considered carefully before deciding to have a surgical procedure.

Risks of Local Anesthetics- There are a lot of spine surgeries that are done under local anesthetic. This involves performing the whole procedure amid consciousness of the patient. Local anesthetic enables surgeries to be performed with less risk of paralysis.

Risks of General Anesthetic- General anesthetic involves the performance of a surgical procedure while the patient is unconscious. There a few patients who are allergic to some anesthetics. In rare cases, a patient can go into anaphylactic shock or even die. It is likely for general anesthetic to cause lung problems. It may lead to pulmonary infections and even pneumonia. This anesthetic increases heart attack risks as well as embolism and stroke.

Infections/Complications of Spine Surgery– Any surgical procedure carries a risk. Some infections might occur in the skin or in some deeper level of the wounds created during the surgery. A procedure that utilizes bone grafts out of a cadaver to reinforce a fusion is very prone to infections. When the spinal canal is infected, the patient will become sick or even die.

Spinal Fluid Leaks-There is a possibility of a dural tear in any procedures done within the spine. A leak will occur when there is a membrane puncture or rupture that covers the spinal cord. Though most leaks of spinal fluid can be corrected, those that are not corrected need an additional corrective surgery.

Nerve Damage-Nerve damage may cause a decreased sensation and body movement which may affect the functioning of the heart and lungs as well.

Paralysis-This is a major spine surgery risk. This may happen when a spinal cord injury is infected.

Failed Back or Spine Surgery Information

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Failed back surgery is the condition that involves prolonged and continued pain experienced by the patient after surgery. There are a lot of reasons that a spine surgery may or may not work even with the hands of the best surgeons. Despite best indications, spine surgery is still over 95% predictive of a successful result. Basically, the accomplishment of a spine surgery just includes decompression of a pinched nerve root and stabilization of a joint in pain. Other reasons for failed spine surgery include:

  1. Inadequate nerve root decompression
  2. Implant failure
  3. Surgical nerve damage
  4. Preoperative nerve damage
  5. Lesion transfer failure
  6. Epidural fibrosis
  7. Postoperative rehabilitation
  8. Recurrence of spinal stenosis or disc herniation

Postsurgical Pain Predictability
Some forms of spine surgery are more predictable when it comes to reducing the symptoms of patients than others. For example:

  1. A spinal instability spine fusion is a predictable procedure. But, a multi-level lumbar degenerative disc disease fusion surgery may not be successful in alleviating pain after surgery.
  2. A lumbar disc herniation discectomy that causes leg pain is also predictable. However, a lumbar disc herniation discectomy that causes lower back pain may not be successful.

This makes it important to stick to highly successful operations to ensure preoperative identification of an anatomic lesion that is to be corrected during the surgery.
Furthermore, failed spine surgery can be treated by a combination of selective endoscopic discectomy, laser disc decompression, intradiscal infiltration, differential provocative discography and intraforaminal steroids infiltration.

Next, visit the Spine Surgery Center of Excellence, a site devoted entirely to spine surgery and spine treatments.