Available Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Procedures
One of the most exciting advances in modern medicine hasbeen the advent of minimally invasive spine surgeryprocedures. Traditionally, if a person needed to spine surgeryto address a degenerative spine condition, such as a herniateddisc, facet disease, spondylolisthesis, or spinal stenosis, theonly real option was intrusive open spine surgery. While thesesurgical procedures still have their utility and arerecommended in certain instances, there are also minimallyinvasive alternatives that are used to treat many of the samespinal conditions. For selected individuals, these treatmentsare preferable because they are conducted on an outpatientbasis and don’t come with as many of the inherent risks andlimitations that are associated with major surgery.
The Purpose of Minimally Invasive Spine SurgeryMinimally invasive spine procedures take advantage of advancementsin the same endoscopic technologies that have revolutionized kneesurgery. Where open spine surgery usually results in the permanentloss of mobility – in exchange for permanent stability – endoscopicprocedures are designed to make small changes in order to alleviatepain. For instance, if an individual suffers from chronic back pain as aresult of a herniated intervertebral disc, an endoscopic proceduremight remove the herniated disc material that is causing thecompression, rather than completely excising the disc itself. Yet, it isalso important to understand that not everyone will be a candidate forminimally invasive spine surgery procedures. In instances where thespine has severely deteriorated and the overall stability and structuralintegrity of the spinal column is at risk, fusion surgery will be required.That said, endoscopic procedures provide a compelling alternative fora select, qualified segment of the population.
The Purpose of Spinal FusionThe most common open spine surgery is known as spinal fusion.During this operation, the patient is admitted into the hospital andplaced under general anesthesia. Once the patient is sedated, thesurgeon makes a large incision in the neck or back, muscles, ligaments,and tendons are incised, and access to the spinal column is achieved.Once in position, the intervertebral disc that separates adjacentvertebra is carefully removed and usually replaced with a graft. Thespinal column is stabilized with surgical hardware, including rods orscrews, and movement at that level of the spine is permanentlyinhibited.As you can tell, this is major spine surgery that will require significantrecovery and rehabilitation to get back to full strength. Furthermore,you need to consider the risks associated with this type of procedure,namely Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, the chance of infection,hemorrhaging, and other limitations.
Surgery Isn’t Always the AnswerIt should also be noted that evenas minimally invasive spinesurgery procedures have grown inpopularity, spine surgery isn’talways the only option. In mostcases, the symptoms of spinaldegeneration can be sufficientlymanaged with a regimen ofconservative, noninvasivetechniques. The use ofnonsteroidal anti-inflammatorydrugs, physical therapy, andhot/cold therapy are usuallyeffective means of managingchronic back or neck pain.
Other OptionsAdditionally, many individuals turn to alternative or complementarymedicine in lieu of surgery. While the overall efficacy of acupuncture,aromatherapy, and other similar methodologies is somewhat uncertainwithin the medical community, many individuals are emphatic thatthese techniques are especially helpful.The important thing is to do your homework and research all of thetreatment options available to you and never self-diagnose. A medicalprofessional can help you develop a treatment plan that affords youthe best chance at overcoming your discomfort. And, if surgery isthought to be your only option, research both minimally invasive andopen spine surgery to ensure that you are taking the right approach toyour condition.