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All about Spine Surgery, Types of Back Surgery

Written by Abhik Moitra

• President - HBG Medical Assistance
•General Secretary – Foundation of Healthcare and Wellness Promotion (FHWP)
•Diploma in Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences (DNYS)
•PGDBM – Symbiosis
•Master’s in Business Development – University of Rajasthan

Is your backache bothering you for some time?

Maybe you are thinking that the fatigue due to the long hours at the office may be the culprit behind that. But probably the reason is something different.

” Causes of Back Pain can be very serious!!! You must consult a good spine doctor.”

It may be an indication that you are suffering from-

  • Herniated Disc

This is also called “Slipped disc” or “Ruptured disc”. When a piece of cartilage from the center of an already weakened disc, with a crack or fissure through the surface, suddenly “squirts out” into the spinal canal, it often causes pressure on a nerve root, or even the spinal cord (in the cervical or thoracic region). This often causes back (or neck) pain, but also causes severe pain in the arm or leg.

  • Bulging Disc

The intervertebral discs are under constant pressure. As discs degenerate and weaken they dry out (dehydrate), causing them to lose height, and sometimes leading to small cracks or tears in the surface of the disc. This can cause lower back pain.

  • Spinal Stenosis

This occurs when bulging discs and arthritis in the spinal joints (“facets” or “facet joints”) combine with abnormal thickening of the spinal ligaments to cause progressive narrowing of the spinal canal. When this narrowing gets bad enough, it causes severe pressure on the spinal nerves and/or spinal cord.

  • Osteoporosis  

This means “porous bones” giving result to a condition where bones become gradually thin and weakened and vulnerable to fracture even from simple activities like sneezing, bumping into something, etc.

  • Spinal Tumors 

 These are the growths that can develop within the spinal canal or within the bones of the spine. A spinal tumor can be life-threatening and cause permanent disability. Usually, a spinal tumor is attended by a neuro-spine doctor.

  • Arthritis 

 Due to this degenerative joint disease, the protective cartilage that cushions the tops of the joints and discs in the neck and lower back degenerates or wears down. causing swelling and pain.

  • Scoliosis 

 If a person’s spine curves to the side as a single curve either to the right or left or has two curves shaped like the letter S, then that person is suffering from Scoliosis.  Severe scoliosis is a painful and debilitating condition that tends to worsen with age. If a curve gets really severe, it can even affect a person’s breathing and heart. Also, it can lead to damage to the joints of the spine. This might get painful when the person is an adult.

  • Sciatica 

This is inflammation of the sciatic nerve which is the largest nerve in the human body. The most common causes of sciatica include compression of the nerve where it exists in the spine by a herniated disc or a rupture of one of the structures that cushion the vertebrae in the spine.

Is spine surgery the only option?

You may think that probably medication alone can fix your back pain, but sometimes surgery is the only treatment that can help you to get relief from back pain and go back to your normal activities.

What are the two types of Spine Surgery?

Generally, spine surgery can be done in two ways:

  • Open Surgery – In Open Back Surgery also known as traditional back surgery, the area being operated on is opened with a long incision(usually 5 to 6 inches)through muscles and soft tissues to allow the surgeon to view and access the affected part of the spine. The surgeon then removes any bone matter or tissue causing nerve or spinal cord pressure. Depending upon the amount of bone removed, stabilization surgery using bone grafts or implants may be required to restore the structural integrity of the spine.
  • Minimally Invasive SurgeryIn Minimally Invasive Spine surgery also called less invasive spine surgery, doctors use specialized instruments to access the spine through small incisions. The goal of this type of surgery is less injury to the muscles and other normal structures in the spine helping the surgeon to see only where the problem exists in the spine.

 Common Procedures of Spine Surgery:

  • Spinal Fusion – This is the most common surgery for back pain. Here the spinal bones also called vertebrae are joined together restricting motion between the bones of the spine and limiting the stretching of nerves. Bone grafts are generally placed around the spine during surgery. The body then heals the grafts over several months, similar to healing a fracture that joins, or “welds,” the vertebrae together.
  • Laminectomy – This surgery involves freeing up the space of the spinal canal by removing a portion of the lamina. This leads to unroofing the canal and can lead to a marked enlargement of the space available for nerves and the spinal cord. This procedure is most commonly performed when the spinal canal becomes narrowed or the nerves become compressed.
  • Foraminotomy– This surgery helps in widening the opening of the back where nerve roots leave the spinal canal. Foraminotomy takes the pressure off of a nerve in the spinal column, allowing the spine to move more easily.
  • Discectomy – In a discectomy, the surgeon removes all or part of the bulging or slipped disc, separating the vertebrae. A discectomy can be done through a large incision or through a smaller incision using tools from outside the body. A discectomy may be part of a larger surgery that includes laminectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion.
  • Disc Replacement – In this procedure the surgeon removes a damaged spinal disc and inserts an artificial disc between the vertebrae. This procedure permits continued motion of the spine

But what procedure is applicable to the patient can only be decided after seeing the reports and the condition of the patient.  A good neuro-spine doctor ensures a good surgery and a wonderful post-surgical recuperation.

So, don’t wait, see a doctor, know what type of spine surgery is suitable for you.

HBG Medical Assistance, India’s largest Medical Assistance Company is assisting thousands of patients from all over the world in getting spine surgery from the top most hospitals in India at an affordable cost. Some of the best Spine Surgeons are on HBG’s panel.

So don’t wait, if you have any queries write to us at: care@hbgmedicalassistance.com
Call or what’s app: +91-9867848452

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