Over the past three decades, significant progress has been made in the treatment of spinal disorders. Many patients may benefit from spinal surgery using contemporary methods if they suffer from neck or arm pain, back or leg pain, or spinal deformity.
If a patient would benefit from spine surgery, it can only be accurately determined by a spinal surgeon with fellowship training. Only after a complete evaluation of the patient, study of imaging studies, discussion of the patient’s goals, and a thorough discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of spinal surgery should a decision to potentially proceed with surgery be made.
When is spine surgery needed?
Surgery for the spine is certainly a last option. Fortunately, patients have access to a variety of treatments that can help manage pain without requiring surgery.
Before deciding to have surgery, patients can try non-operative management methods like physical therapy, medicines, injectable therapy, bracing, or other therapies. Only those who are unable to be treated with conservative means should have surgery.
What advantages does surgery have over non-surgical treatments?
Unfortunately, some individuals will need spine surgery to reduce discomfort and enable them to continue their normal activities. Patients with crippling spinal deformities, for instance, can only really be cured surgically in my practice. This is due to the fact that bracing and physical therapy are ineffective for treating severe spinal abnormalities. Other patients experience extremely severe nerve compression, and no conservative therapy can effectively reduce symptoms over the long term. If and when to proceed with spine surgery must be decided after a thorough conversation between the physician and patient.
What are the signs that a patient might be ready for surgery?
Patients may know when they need surgery. When the patient is affected every day by the spinal condition and is not able to pursue or perform normal activities on a daily basis, then surgery may be indicated. If other measures have been taken but are not adequately controlling pain, then a spinal surgery may be in order.
Can you prevent spine conditions?
Sadly, and through no fault of their own, the majority of individuals with spinal disorders have spinal stenosis, disc herniations, disc degeneration, or deformity. In light of this, choosing to live a healthy lifestyle that includes getting enough exercise, keeping a healthy weight, and quitting smoking is the best thing we can all do.
Fortunately, we have good and safe surgical choices that can deliver long-lasting outcomes even for patients who have developed severe spinal problems. With an extremely low complication rate, surgery conducted by the correct surgeon consistently produces favorable results.