Surgery Can Relieve Back and Spine Pain
Pain relief, healing, and better quality of life are top concerns for back and spine specialists. If physical therapy, medication, or other back pain treatments do not provide adequate results, spine care specialists may offer surgical solutions using the latest spine surgery techniques in local state-of-the-art orthopedic facilities. The types of spine surgery chosen will depend on individual risk factors and diagnosis.
Surgical procedures offered at Baylor Scott & White Orthopedic and Spine Hospital – Arlington’s orthopedic spine care center include:
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
- Anterior cervical corpectomy
- Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET)
- Lumbar disc microsurgery
- Micro endoscopic discectomy
- Spinal cord stimulator implant
- Spinal fusion
- Total disc replacement
Fusion Stabilizes Damaged Vertebrae
When small bones in the spine are damaged, causing pain and severe loss of mobility, spinal fusion may be the best solution. The spine surgeon grafts the bones of the vertebrae together so that they heal as one solid bone. Interbody fusion involves removing the intervertebral disc and replacing it with a metal or plastic spacer. The “anterior” spinal fusion means the surgeon works from the front, affecting blood vessels and organs but avoiding the need to move nerves. The spine may also be strengthened with additional screws or plates.
Cervical Discectomy Decompresses the Spine
As we age, continued use causes the spinal canal to narrow and squeeze the spinal cord, leading to a very common back disorder called cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). CSM is sometimes linked to spondylosis or osteoarthritis, disc degeneration, bone spurs, and herniated discs. This spine condition causes back pain, neck pain, numbness, balance problems, loss of motor skills, and muscle weakness.
To decompress the spinal canal, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, which approaches surgery from the front of the body. Experienced orthopedic spine surgeons can present details about several CSM treatments such as posterior cervical discectomy, anterior cervical corpectomy, laminectomy and laminoplasty.
In the discectomy, the damaged disc is removed, space is opened up, and the area is filled with a bone graft. The graft material may come from the patient (autograft) or donated material (allograft) comprised of biologically compatible materials. Spine specialists determine the best choice of bone graft materials in each case for optimal healing.
Another minimally invasive treatment for low back pain stemming from spinal disc issues is intradiscal electrothermic therapy (IDET). Discography pinpoints the source of the disc irritation. Then, using local anesthetic and fluoroscopy, a needle is used to insert a heated element that burns away damaged nerve fibers, seal tears and toughen up surrounding disc tissue.
Corpectomy Treats the Bone, Not the Disc
In comparison to discectomy, the microsurgery known as anterior cervical corpectomy removes the vertebrae rather than the disc to ease spine compression. Spinal fusion stabilizes the spinal column. If your CSM back pa in is caused by pressure from both the bone and the disk, treatment may combine both discectomy and corpectomy.
A laminectomy calls for removal of the bony arch along the back of the spinal canal. It also clears away bone spurs and ligaments pressing on the spinal cord. The area is then fused with a bone graft and possibly additional fixtures such as rods or screws. Specialists can use various approaches to laminectomy for best results.
Total Disc Replacement Versus Spinal Fusion
Spine surgery to treat low back pain frequently involves some form of spinal fusion. If the fusion procedure fails to provide successful results (or is not recommended for a specific patient), total disc replacement surgery provides an alternative. The spine surgeon accesses the spine through the abdomen (anterior approach) to target the affected discs and replace them completely with a mechanical disc of plastic, cobalt chromium, or titanium alloy.
Fractured Vertebrae Strengthened With Spine Surgery
Pain occurring from the middle to lower back may indicate a vertebral compression fracture due to osteoporosis, a common complaint as people age. Bones of the spine weaken, flatten and leave patients with a rounded or bent spine and back pain. Orthopedic spine specialists assess the fractured bone using diagnostic imaging and bone density tests. If nonsurgical spine care does not improve your back condition, the doctor may suggest vertebral augmentation such as kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty.
Both these spine surgeries use a needle to inject bone cement inside the fractured vertebra to strengthen it. Kyphoplasty deposits and inflates a balloon tamp inside the bone first, while vertebroplasty delivers bone cement directly into the narrowed spinal cavity. Both spine procedures are considered minimally invasive, allowing patients to quickly return to normal function.
Consult Back and Spine Specialists for Surgical Solutions
Back pain and spine disorders can be effectively treated with a wide variety of surgical procedures at Baylor Scott & White – Arlington. Learn more about minimally invasive and other spine surgery techniques by booking an appointment with our experienced orthopedic surgeons at 855-41-ORTHO.