3 Types of Less Invasive Back Surgery That Will Get You Back on Your Feet
For those suffering from back pain, surgery may be a necessary step that can help them perform just the simplest, everyday tasks. However, due to how extensive some procedures might be, the post-operation recovery can inhibit someone's life.
Fortunately, over the past three decades, scientific advancements have led to an increased understanding of spinal bio-mechanics, proliferation of sophisticated spinal instrumentation devices, advances in bone fusion techniques, and refinement of anterior approaches to the spine. Using modern, less-invasive back surgery methods has allowed brain and spine physicians to stabilize every section of the spine successfully, regardless of the offending pathology.
While most spine operations previously used what are called 'open surgeries,' the less invasive back surgery operations have improved the effectiveness of some procedures, as well as reduced recovery time.
Spine fusion surgery, for example, involves the conjoining of two vertebrae for added support, but it can take anywhere from three to twelve months to return to most normal activities. Worst of all, a patient can still suffer symptoms until the bones have completely fused.
So what are some of these new less invasive back surgery operations?
Epidural steroid injections: Epidural steroid injections (ESI) can be used to temporarily relieve lumbar lower back pain and sciatica. Even though ESIs may not be able to cure more extensive skeletal problems, the mix of cortisone and local anesthetics is very effective in relieving chronic pain.
Discectomy / Microdiscectomy: These operations are used to treat nerve-root compression caused by herniated discs. While discectomies can be performed both with open surgery or with minimally invasive techniques, this simple operation leaves little scarring and pain. With fluoroscopic imaging and a pump, back surgeons are able to access the spine to remove matter from herniated discs, without making a large incision.
Kyphoplasty: This minimally invasive surgery is used to relieve pain caused by vertebral compression fractures, which affect the bones and compromise the spinal column. The operation involves inserting an empty needle through a small opening in the skin and into the spine until positioned evenly with the fractured vertebra.
The spine surgeon will then use the needle to fill a small balloon that will revert the bone back to its original shape. This also creates a cavity where orthopedic cement can be injected to keep the bone in place.
The back pain itself is enough for the more than one in four Americans with musculoskeletal impairments to deal with without a long and unpleasant recovery from surgery. But experienced back and neurosurgeons can use these techniques to get you happily and quickly back on your feet.