Spine Surgery Questions | Tampa, Westchase & Palm Harbor
Spine Surgery Questions
Because you are looking at this area, we will assume you have failed the all the conservative options, or that you have a problem that is getting progressively worse. Remember that as long as you are not having any potentially permanent nerve issues, you can wait to have spine surgery. But, in certain instances, such as infections, tumors, fractures, you may be at risk for catastrophic permanent nerve damage. In those cases, you will need emergent surgery. In situations of progressive muscle weakness, or loss of the ability to control your bladder or bowels, you should also contact your doctor as you may also need emergent surgery. Otherwise, you probably have had pain for too long, and now desire a spine surgery solution. Make sure you have the discussion about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to your spine surgery. As long as you do not need emergent surgery, most prudent surgeons will wait a certain period time to see if you will get better before needing surgery.
As with all information, these are very general answers to spine surgery. If you have more specific questions, please contact your physician.
In general, spinal surgery is designed to remove pressure on your nerves or spinal cord. Objects that can cause pressure on the nerves are herniated disks, bone spurs, infections, tumors or broken fragments of bone. Depending on the location of the nerve or cord pressure, you can approach the area of compression from the front (anterior), or back (posterior). In certain circumstances, you may need both approaches.
Because of the potential removal of important ligaments or bony structures, or secondary to a pre-existing spinal instability pattern, some times you will need a fusion along with the removal of the pressure on the nerve. To explain a fusion, it is basically making one or more bones into one bone. Effectively, the surgeon is creating a “fracture or broken bone” and helping the body heal or fuse these areas.
“State of the Art” spine techniques utilize minimally invasive techniques, advanced metallic devices, biologic products, etc, to achieve better spine surgery outcomes. But the reality is that once you have committed to the surgery, your surgeon’s goal is to decompress the compressed nerves or cord, and if necessary, fuse the unstable spine areas. As long as these goals are accomplished, your chances of a successful outcome is good.
In SPINE ANIMATIONS, there is a section dedicated to surgical procedures. Please look at the animations for step by step review of the most common spine surgical procedures.
Last modified: October 22, 2019