Spine Operation – The different types
Over 1.2 million citizens of the United States undergo spinal surgery every year, which is 40 percent higher than other countries worldwide.
Pain is subjective. Thus, every pain complaint is considered real. When a certain part of the body is painful, it requires immediate attention. However, every intervention rendered to relieve pain must be a product of thorough assessment. The most common pain complained by everybody is back pain. This discomfort may occur most of the days from work, sports activities, other daily activities and even during rest. Hence, most individuals experiencing it might freak out when it is not relieved by simple interventions and they end up thinking about having a spine problem. Consequently, these people would even have thoughts of undergoing spine operation as palliative procedure.
Spine- is the human backbone also known as the vertebral column. Its function is to protect the spinal cord and supports the torso in assuming an upright posture.
Spinal cord – is a part of the central nervous system responsible for neural signal transmission from the brain to the different parts of the body and vice versa, either motor or sensory function.
Spine injury- is a trauma or damage to the spinal column or vertebrae
Spine operation or spinal surgery - an invasive procedure done to treat injury to the vertebral column, spinal cord or vertebral disc.
An injury to the spinal column can cause the body extensive medical problems. Even small injuries to the spine can result in loss of sensation in many body parts. In less intensive cases, the affected individual may experience foot or hand paralysis, weakness, or pain only at the affected area. However, the damage can become severe by which total paralysis occurs below the site of the injury. For instance, if the spinal cord injury is at the cervical region, the parts below the injured neck could possibly become paralyzed.
The common causes of spinal injury are improper body mechanics, wear and tear, accidental falls or trauma, and aging. Intervention depends on the severity of the spine injury. It doesn't mean that when someone's spine is injured, one should immediately undergo any spine operation.
There are conservative treatments that might relieve back pain such as: medications, cold or warm compress applications, massage, and physical therapy. When none of these are effective, then one should consult a spine specialist for proper assessment. Besides, doctors would not immediately suggest a spine operation due to the risks and possible complications of the procedure.
In fact, a spine operation is the last resort. It only becomes an option if there is compression of the spinal nerves that results in serious numbness or the pain becomes excruciating and only gets worse after weeks or months of non-invasive treatments.
The common causes of nerve compression that might require surgery are bone fractures, scoliosis, kyphosis, spohylolisthesis, spinal stenosis, radiculopathy and degenerative disk disease.
The following are common types of spinal surgery to address spinal problems:
Discectomy- this is an open surgery by which the herniated disk is partially or totally removed to relieve irritation and inflammation of a nerve.
Laminectomy- this procedure is performed by removing the bone overlying the spinal canal to enlarge the spinal canal and alleviate pressure on the nerve due to spinal stenosis.
Spinal Fusion- this spine operation is done to connect two or more spinal bones permanently. It makes the spinal fracture stable, thus relieving pain. Occasionally, painful movement between vertebraes caused by degenerated or injured disk can be eliminated also through spinal fusion.
Vertebroplasty- this procedure is performed by injecting bone cement into fractured and compressed vertebrae for pain relief and bone stability.
Artificial disks- same as spinal fusion, this procedure addresses painful movement between two vertebrae caused by degenerated or injured disk. This is performed by implantation of artificial disks. Although it is considered an alternative treatment for spinal fusion, these artificial disks are still under studies.
The aforementioned procedures are just options in case needed. These surgical options requires the spine specialist’s opinion if surgery is necessary or not. Similarly, impulsive decision-making to undergo spine operation should be avoided. As much as possible, always consider a second opinion. When given time a care most spine injuries will heal themsevles.
One significant thing to think about is that the human body speaks through various signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms may be manifested as pain, weakness and even loss of sensory-motor function and other neuromuscular indications. All that humans need to do is to learn to listen to what their body is telling them. If you are having back pain you should give it a few days rest. If you just ignore it and let it get worse it could cost you months or years of pain in the future. It is through early detection that early intervention can be given.
Remember that most diseases and many other medical conditions are preventable through a healthy lifestyle. Back pain and spinal problems can be prevented as well through proper body mechanics, regular exercise and weight control. Therefore, the primary answer to avoiding back pain and spinal problems is prevention. A Spine operation is just a back up solution after all non-invasive treatments have failed.
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