Fear of surgery, or of the possible lack of improvements even after surgery, was a common reason for people to put off spine surgery in the past. Today, with more advanced technologies and a far better understanding of the spine and the possibility to recovery from issues such as long and painful procedures and limited results, this fear is minimal for most patients.
For anyone who has back pain, the first step should be to see a neck and back specialist, an orthopedic specialist, and not just see their family doctor. While a general physician is a great starting point, getting a referral to a specialist or doing your research and making an appointment is essential.
By seeing a neck and back orthopedic specialist many people may find they have options to consider besides spine surgery. Non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments and therapies can be ideal options to relieve pain and to prevent further damage to the spine.
With advancements in imaging it is much easier for spine surgeons to have a better idea of the condition of the spine itself. This not only leads to more options for treatment, but it also helps the surgeon to provide a much more accurate prediction of the outcome of spine surgery.
Information provided to the patient about what can be expected from the surgery based on the detail from the imaging and testing, allows the patient to make a better informed decision. It isn’t always important for the patient to understand all the details of the procedure that will be used, but it is very important to have an accurate understanding of the chances of recovery or relief from the pain.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
In the past, spinal fusion was the most common type of spine surgery, especially for lower back pain. This was a major surgical procedure with prolonged healing times and often limited effectiveness.
Today, with minimally invasive spine surgery, fusions and other procedures can be completed using several small incisions rather than one long and large incision. With the advancement in imaging, the surgeon can see the spine before the procedure, pinpointing exactly where incisions needs to be made.
For many patients, the return home will occur on the same day of the surgery. Even for those going through fusion, the typical hospital stay after minimally invasive spine surgery is about three days, with traditional procedures requiring seven days of hospitalization. Recovery time is also faster, and without the large incisions the muscles of the back are still intact and are able to support the individual after a very short recovery time.
At Suburban Orthopaedics, our neck and back specialists can complete minimally invasive spine surgery based on the best treatment for each patient. To learn more go to www.suburbanortho.com.