Having surgery that involves the spine is not something that the majority of people will experience in their lifetime. However, it may present as a necessary procedure for certain health conditions, as well as due to accidents and unexpected injury. The spine is an incredibly complex structure. It serves many important purposes in regards to the function of the body on the whole.
Due to the complexity of the spine, the potential for damage and age-related damage is something that has to be considered. Physical harm due to accidents and injury can rapidly become a long-term issue, especailly if an accurate diagnosis is not reached in good time. It is also possible that tumours and infections can affect the optimum health of the spine. Essentially, there are a wide range of issues that may unexpectedly affect the function of the spine, as well as some other problems that are easier to be aware of.
Click here to read more about the form and function of the spine!
Indications of Spine Problems
If you have started to experience pain or weakness in the lower back or neck, or in the arms and legs, then this could be a strong indication that you have a problem with your spine. This may not necessarily be a serious cause for concern, but is certainly something you should look into and discuss with your doctor.
Pain in the back may initially present as a mild discomfort, but could progress to becoming a severe pain, or even a debilitating condition. If a painful condition is left untreated for an extended period of time then it could eventually be of detriment to quality of life and range of movement.
Pain in the back can also be a sympton of a more serious condition. So, it is always worth investigating the cause of your back pain and ensuring a treatment plan is put in place.
The majority of spine problems can be remedied without surgical intervention. Physical therapy and pain medication are two common routes that will be explored before any kind of surgery is discussed.
Anti-inflammatory medications can be of particular help when addressing issues of the spine. When anti-inflammatory medications are combined with adequate pain management then this can go a long way to help with a range of spine problems.
If non-surgical treatment options do not provide relief and positive change in the condition over the course of several months, then the time to think about surgical options may have arrived. However, surgery will generally only be recommended if the exact source of the pain or problem can be determined. This could involve a lengthy diagnosis process, so it is always being aware of this and managing your expectations accordingly.
The type of surgery that is usually conducted for spinal problems is known as open surgery. This requires a long incision at the area of the problem. This enables the surgeon to have a clear view of the surgical site.
Open surgery can often result in long recovery times, however, with the advent of medical technology, less invasive procedures have become possible and available. Speak to your doctor about your range of options before you move forwards with any treatment plan.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive spine surgery, also often referred to as MISS, requires special surgical tools that are created for this purpose. These tools allow the surgeon to gain access to the spine through minimally invasive incisions. These incisions may be as small as one inch long, whereas regular open surgery may require incisions between five and six inches.
With MISS, the necessity to work around muscle and other tissue is reduced, which is something that is generally unavoidable with open surgery. This not only results in a shorter amount of time that the patient is on the operating table for, but also a shorter recovery time.
To read more about the uses of MISS you can click here for additional information!
Regardless of the type of surgery, there are three main surgical approaches that a surgeon will decide from when it comes to spine surgery.
These three approaches are:
- The Anterior Approach
- The Posterior Approach
- The Lateral Approach
The anterior approach is when the surgeon accesses the spine through the front of the body. An incision will be made in the abdomen. The posterior approach is when the surgeon accesses the spine from the back of the body, with an incision being made in the back. Finally, the lateral approach is when an incision is made in the side of the body in order to reach the spine.
Why Spine Care is Important
To learn more about spine care and why protecting the health of the spine is important, you can check out our previous article on this topic.
If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in the spine, then seeking an expert diagnosis should be your top priority. Delaying this procedure could equate to further health problems.
At Onto Orthopedics our aim is to always provide the best possible experience for you so that we can get a treatment plan in place and resolve your condition!
Contact us today to discuss your problem and get yourself on the right path to better health.