Spinal Fusion Surgery
One of the most common surgeries performed by a spine surgeon near you, spinal fusion surgery, is brute force against back or neck pain. The surgery is designed to stop the motion of the vertebral level or segment that is generating pain. The goal is to decrease pain caused by a herniated disc, a facet joint, compressed nerve, or all three.
Although this is one surgical procedure, there are many approaches to spinal fusion surgery. The most common method involves a bone graft or synthetic graft added to the disc space to the level where the work is needed.
Sometimes, another graft-enhancing bone material is added to increase the growth of bone through that area. The graft grows between two vertebral segments to create one vertebral piece. The resulting bony fusion replaces a mobile level with immobile, thus stopping motion and preventing pain generation.
Fusion surgery is recommended where there is abnormal movement or other instability at a vertebral level that results in severe pain.
Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery
Another joint surgery that a spine surgeon near you performs is artificial disc replacement surgery.
Artificial discs are designed to mimic the form and function of original discs. Most of them consist of metal (e.g., titanium, chrome) or a combination of metal and a semi-flexible synthetic biopolymer (plastic). In straightforward terms, a damaged disc is removed (discectomy) and replaced by an artificial one.
For lumbar applications, ProDisc-L, Activ-L, and Charite. There are Prestige ST and LP artificial discs in cervical applications, Mobi-C, ProDisc-C, Bryan Disc, Secure-C, and PCM.
There are no artificial disc replacement options for thoracic spine applications at this time. Although the procedure is comparatively new (spinal fusion has been used for more than 70 years), artificial disc replacement surgery is gaining full acceptance by physicians and insurers alike. The results are superior to that of fusion, particularly in the cervical spine.
Ideal candidates for the procedure include patients with varying degrees of disc degeneration or disc herniation and experiencing chronic and persistent back or neck pain and associated leg or arm pain.
Microdiscectomy may also be called micro decompression, where a small portion of the bone (a few millimeters) is removed to relieve neural ‘impingement’ (pinching). By giving the nerve root more room, the procedure should alleviate associated pain related to the nerve’s pinching and allow for the nerve to heal.
Typically, a microdiscectomy is performed for a herniated lumbar disc. The reason is that this procedure is beneficial for easing leg pain but not as effective in treating patients with central low back pain.
There are two standard options in outpatient lumbar discectomies:
- (1) microdiscectomy
- (2) endoscopic or percutaneous discectomy.
Microdiscectomy is usually an outpatient procedure performed through a small incision approximately 1 inch in length in the midline of the low back.
The method targets neural decompression as a cure for patients with ‘pinched nerves due to disc degeneration or the growth of bone spurs or narrowing of the foraminal hole where the nerve exits the spinal cord.
The surgeon removes the herniated portion of the lumbar disc and any other fragments within the disc space that may interfere with the nerve. The goal is to free up the nerve (decompression).
Also: Tips To Prevent Neck Injury
If you can, work from a firm chair positioned at a desk or table. A soft couch isn’t your friend for hours on end. Sit tight, and don’t forget to get up and shake it out to avoid aches and pains.
Tip 1: Feet firmly on the ground
Keep your feet flat on the floor and slightly ahead of your knees, which are bent at a 90- to 120-degree angle. Use a lumbar support cushion or grab a small throw pillow to alleviate back pain if one is not available.
Tip 2: Shoulders relaxed and natural
Shoulders are relaxed, upper arms usually fall at your sides, elbows are close to your body. The Head is generally in line with your body — not thrust forward — and the middle of your computer monitor is at eye level.
Tip 3: “Arm” yourself for success
Hands and forearms are parallel to the floor. The ideal keyboard position is slightly below the height of your elbows and sloped slightly away from you. This position allows your upper body to relax and keeps circulation from being cut off in your lower arms and hands.
Tip 4: Neck-free when talking
Use earbuds, a headset, or a speakerphone so that you don’t have to tilt your head and hold the phone between your neck and shoulder.
Advancing your work pace is a critical aspect, but ignoring the vital muscles in your neck can be fatal. Learn more about neck injury by clicking here.
Spinal surgeries and spinal surgery devices are constantly evolving, thanks to the spine surgeon near you.
The growth of spinal devices will be driven by the demand for minimally invasive spine surgeries and their need for technological advancement. Advanced surgical procedures benefit the patients with less downtime, pain, and scarring.
A growing number of spinal non-fusion procedures are being performed due to the beneficial outcomes for patients. The market is expected to reach 17.27 billion (US) by 2021.