Back and Spine Health
Spinal problems such as upper and lower lower back pains, herniated discs, bulging discs and degenerative discs are a leading cause of disability across the world. Contrary to popular belief, these problems do not have to be resolved through invasive surgical procedures such as disc replacement and spinal fusion.
When detected early, many of these problems can be resolved through minimally invasive alternative procedures and therapies.
When we mention minimally invasive procedures, it does not mean that a patient will not go under the surgeon’s knife, rather that these procedures are usually done by performing an incision that is smaller than usual.
Some of the key benefits of considering alternatives to spinal surgery according to spine surgeons in North Las Vegas, NV include:
• The patient usually has better spinal mobility after the surgery is completed
• These procedures have a faster recovery period
• These procedures do not put too much stress on nearby discs meaning that there is usually less pain compared to a conventional surgery
• There is usually no need to harvest bones from other parts of the body to be used in making a graft
Before we discuss some of the top alternatives to spinal surgery, it is important to note that there are some conditions which can only be rectified through spinal surgery. They include:
• Trauma that leads to a dislocation or fracture of the spine
• Tumor in the spinal column
• Instability in the vertebrae column after a previous surgery (for example if a spinal fusion surgery fails to unite discs)
• Spine deformity such as severe kyphosis or scoliosis
Top Alternatives to Spinal Surgery
Also known as micro-decompression, this procedure is commonly used to treat sciatica. During this minimally invasive procedure, a small section of the intervertebral disc is usually removed hence removing some or all of the pressure on the nerve. This procedure can be performed in the following three main ways:
• Multi-open procedure – This is usually done like a conventional discectomy but the incisions are smaller
• Tubular procedure – This usually allow the operating surgeon to access the disc with the help of a special expansion tube]
• Endoscopic procedure – The surgeon usually inserts a tiny camera through a tube to the affected area so that they can visualize the area and perform the procedure using specialized surgical tools
2. Laminectomy (Without Fusion)
The human spine is supported by vertebrae. Each vertebra has two arc-shaped discs which are known as laminae. Removing the laminae can help reduce pressure along the spinal canal and in the process also remove pressure from surrounding nerves. Though this procedure is typically performed when a spinal fusion procedure is being done it can also be done alone.
3. Insertion of an Artificial Disc
This procedure is usually considered for patients who have chronic back pain, spondylolisthesis or degenerative disc disease that occurs between the L4 and L5 vertebrae and the sacrum. This procedure is usually considered if all other efforts to treat back pain have been tried and failed.
4. Percutaneous Endoscopic Discectomy
This minimally invasive procedure is usually done to relieve pressure on a damaged spinal disc hence alleviating pain. During the operation, the operating surgeon usually makes a small incision through the skin after which a camera and surgical tools are inserted through a tube to the affected area so that the surgery can be performed.
5. Stem Cell Therapy
This is a relatively new alternative to traditional spinal surgery. During this minimally invasive procedure, your own stem cells can be administered to the affected disc to help reduce painful inflammation, repair damaged cartilage tissue, improve disc height and improve hydration along joints. This procedure can be a great alternative to surgery especially if there is no instability along the spinal discs or an excessively large herniated disc. As always consult with your spine surgeon in North Las Vegas, NV when determining which treatment option is right for you.