Deciding whether or not to undergo surgery, is a difficult decision, especially when the surgery involves your spine. Bowel or bladder problems related to the spine are considered an emergency; this alone is a good reason to have spine surgery. Progressive or severe weakness in one or more limbs is also a reason to consider spine treatment. “Drop foot,” “clumsy hands,” “legs giving way” are all very concerning and could represent partial paralysis. A life-crushing debility from pain associated with a spinal condition that is not responding to all the treatments you’ve been throwing at it or being bedridden and unable to participate in daily life in a meaningful way are definitely reasons to consider spine treatment.
Spine Treatment helps you move around better, be more physically fit, reduces the amount of pain medication required and helps you be more productive at work and in general.
MISS or Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery techniques utilize more modern technologies, advanced imaging techniques and special medical equipment to reduce tissue trauma, bleeding, radiation exposure, hospital stays and recovery by minimizing the size of the incision. Traditionally, spine surgery requires incisions up to 5-6 inches and almost a month for recovery. Modern endoscopic procedures or MISS can be done through a 2 to 5 mm skin opening, with no internal cutting. Procedures done with a microscope require skin openings of approximately one inch or more.
MISS is mostly used to treat multiple spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, fractures, tumours, infections, instability, and deformity. MISS also opens up the possibility of spine surgery for patients who were previously considered too high-risk for traditional surgery due to previous medical history or the complexity of the condition.
Endoscopic discectomy, a common type of endoscopic spinal surgery, is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to remove herniated disc material that is causing pain in the lower back and legs (lumbar), mid back (thoracic), or neck and arms (cervical). Endoscopic discectomy is the least invasive and effective surgical technique for treating spinal disc herniation patients. With endoscopic spine surgery, surgeons do not need to remove bones and muscles in order to remove herniated discs. Surgeons can see the spine with a camera, smaller than a smartphone camera, through a small surgical port (tube). Large incisions are avoided. The procedure does not traumatize your spine as traditional spine surgeries do. The whole procedure for a disc herniation takes about 30 minutes. The patient goes home in 2- 3 hours when the surgery is done in a surgery centre.
For some patients with serious spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, or nerve compression with associated low back pain, fusion surgery is the treatment of choice. Fusion surgery involves joining or fusing two or more vertebrae together. TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion) is one such type of fusion surgery that can be effective as treatments for these conditions and involves the surgeon inserting the bone graft into the disc space from the side. It is an “open” technique, which requires making a larger incision along the middle of the back through which, the surgeon then retracts spinal muscles and tissue to access the vertebrae and disc space.
Using special surgical instruments the surgeon then does the entire TLIF procedure. Working through a small tube, instead of a larger “open” incision, greatly reduces the amount of muscle and tissue that is cut or retracted. Blood loss is dramatically reduced. These minimally invasive benefits also lead to shorter hospital stays and quicker patient recovery times.
Nucleoplasty is a minimally invasive technique that uses radio-frequency energy to treat disc conditions such as a herniated disc. Surgeons use nucleuoplasty to remove portions of a damaged disc in the neck or back that may be compressing a nerve root nearby and could be the cause of pain, discomfort and limited mobility. Nucleoplasty is often performed on a mildly damaged disc that may have been injured or could have been caused by a degenerative spine condition, such as the presence of a bulging disc.
Balloon kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive treatment for spinal compression fractures. Kyphoplasty uses a small balloon during which orthopedic balloons are used to gently elevate the fractured vertebra in an attempt to return it to the correct position. Bone cement is then injected to stabilize the fracture. This entire procedure takes about a half hour per level. Most patients are discharged from the hospital within a day of their surgery and can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, depending on your overall state of health as determined by the physician.
Cervical disc replacement is a surgical procedure involving removal of a damaged or degenerated cervical disc and replacing it with an artificial disc device. Cervical discs that become damaged either through trauma or degeneration can be a source of pain. The standard treatment for symptomatic cervical disc disease typically involves physical therapy, medications, and occasionally spinal injection procedures. If the symptoms persist and become bothersome for more than 6-12 weeks, surgical treatment can be considered. Some patients with a disc herniation that is localized off to one side of the spinal canal can be managed with a procedure performed on the back of the neck called a posterior discectomy or lamino-foraminotomy. However, the most common and traditional operation for symptomatic cervical disc disease involves an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery.
Vertebroplasty is an outpatient procedure for stabilizing compression fractures in the spine. Bone cement is injected into back bones (vertebrae) that have cracked or broken, often because of osteoporosis. The cement hardens, stabilizing the fractures and supporting the spine. For people with severe, disabling pain caused by a compression fracture, vertebroplasty can relieve pain, increase mobility and reduce the use of pain medication. Percutaneous vertebroplasty has become widely accepted as a safe and effective minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of painful vertebral body compression fractures refractory to medical therapy.