There are various forms of spinal surgery, most of which are aimed at relieving pain or improving mobility. When physiotherapy and other non-surgical measures have all failed, spinal surgery can be the only viable treatment option available.
Spine surgery is required to address chronic pain, deformities and serious mobility issues. It is usually a last resort after all other measures have been exhausted. However, some spine surgeries are performed on an emergency basis - often after a serious trauma. In most cases, however, spinal surgery is performed to strengthen the back, correct posture or relieve pain.
There are several types of spinal surgery, most of which involve a significant incision. In some cases, discs are moved into their correct position. Other surgeries involve the removal of nerves, the strengthening of muscles and the fusion of individual vertebrae together. It is also possible to remove parts of the spine in order to provide relief from chronic pain and immobility.
There are several types of spine operation being performed today.
This type of spinal surgery is given to people with non-specific, chronic back pain that hasn't been receptive to physio and other forms of therapy. The surgeon joins two or more vertebrae together in order to restrict their movement within the problem area. This, in turn, limits how far the nerves between the vertebrae can move. In most cases, fusing two vertebrae together doesn't limit your physical activity - although it might have consequences if you're involved in competitive sport. A second operation may be required in certain cases. .
Laminectomy is a common type of surgery aimed at providing relief from the symptoms of spinal stenosis. In spinal stenosis, the spinal canal becomes compressed. When this happens, pressure can be exerted on nerves - causing serious pain. The laminectomy procedure involves the surgeon removing parts of the spine, bone spurs and various ligaments. This is all done to relieve pressure on the surrounding nerves. However, this weakens the spine, and there's a chance it can make the entire structure less stable. To counteract this instability, your surgeon might decide to perform spinal fusion surgery at the same time.
Foraminotomy is a surgical procedure aimed at relieving pain and immobility caused by compressed nerves. This particular ailment is common among people with a relatively sedentary lifestyle. Foraminotomy begins with a large incision. The surgeon carefully removes part of the offending vertebrae - at either end. This widens the space through which spinal nerves exit the bone structure. When these spaces are relatively narrow, nerves can get trapped regularly. Unfortunately, this type of spinal surgery can make your spine less stable. And when this happens, you might be susceptible to a range of back issues. If your surgeon is concerned about spinal instability, they'll probably perform spinal fusion surgery at the same time.
If a disc that provides a cushion between two vertebra slips out of place, it can exert significant pressure on nerves. And when this happens, the pain can be excruciating. Commonly known as a slipped disc, this ailment often rectifies itself over time. But when it doesn't, a discectomy might be necessary. The procedure involves the removal of all or part of the disc. In some cases, a large incision may be necessary. However, there's a chance your surgeon will be able to perform the entire operation through a small opening. This particular way of disc removal is called a microdiscectomy.
Spinal discs are there to provide a cushioning barrier between vertebrae. They're necessary because the spine is moving all day. If they weren't there, bone would grind against bone with almost every movement. After a discectomy, it might be necessary to replace your disc with an artificial replacement. There is a risk that an artificial disc might fall out of place prematurely. However, the recovery period after a disk replacement is far shorter than it is for spinal fusion.
Of all the spinal surgeries aimed at relieving chronic pain, this is perhaps the least invasive. It involves the creation of a small, U-shaped device that is then inserted between two vertebrae. The device's primary goal is to keep the space between vertebrae open - stopping nerves from becoming trapped. Because the surgeon isn't removing part of your spine, there's little to no deterioration in spinal stability after surgery.
Spinal surgery deals with an area of the body that is packed with nerves. Expect a lot of pain after your procedure. But if your surgery is a success, this pain should subside within a few days. You'll need to take some time off work after surgery, and you should refrain from vigorous exercise and heavy lifting for at least three months.