BACK SURGERY

Back ache is the second reason for non-attendance at work in the world. Often back surgery is not successful in relieving the pain. Discover the cause of your back ache and if surgery is an option to diminish your back pain.

Injuries, ageing, bad body postures, normal wear and tear; all these factors can cause your back complaints. A damage somewhere in your back or pressure on the nerves of your spine can cause a back ache and/or other symptoms. If you suffer from chronic backpain, then the question is: ‘Can back surgery help me to get rid of this pain?’

From the most recent investigations we know that most of the back complaints do not need surgery; only a small percentage of the cases require back surgery indeed. The largest part of the back complaints can be solved by (conservative) non-surgical treatments like: applications of anti-inflammation medication, warm/cold treatments, podiatrist treatment, diet, physiotherapy, chiropractic, orthopaedic manual therapy, medical training therapy and so on…

If several different conservative therapies did not improve the situation, surgery might be an option to relieve the backpain.

WHEN DO YOU NEED SPINAL SURGERY?

  • In case of compression of a spinal nerve causing a long-lasting pain in the back and/or no feeling (numbness) at the back of the legs.
  • In some cases of slipped discs- the intervertebral discs are the soft parts between the vertebrae (bones) of the spine.
  • In case you suffer from a broken spine or other serious damage caused by an accident.
  • When you suffer from a fractured vertebra and/or spinal instability because of osteoporosis.
  • In case you have been treated before and conservative treatments failed to relieve your backpain or other symptoms.

THE FOLLOWING SITUATIONS COULD REQUIRE SURGERY IF THE DISEASE IS PROGRESSIVE AND VERY PAINFUL OR WHEN WE CAN SPEAK OF A LONG-LASTING NERVE COMPRESSION:

  • Scoliosis, an abnormal curving of the spinal column.
  • Kyphosis, the formation of bumps near the breast vertebrae.
  • Spondylitis, the moving of a segment of the spinal column.
  • Spinal stenosis, a deduction of the spinal cord canal.
  • Radiculopathy, irritation and inflammation of a nerve caused by a slipped disc.
  • Degeneration, the development of pain in the disc between the vertebrae caused by wear and tear.

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TYPES OF SURGERY ON THE SPINAL COLUMN

To release pressure on the spinal cord, surgeons can remove parts of the bone. So that the (passage) space for the spinal (bone) marrow and/or the nerve roots inside the spine is improved. Surgeons can also remove the bulging part of a disc to relieve the pressure on a trapped nerve.

  • Discectomy: This is the partly or complete removal of an intervertebral disc. It is the most common procedure of a slipped disc surgery.
  • Laminotomy: This procedure consists of the removal of the bone around the spinal cord. The spinal cord canal is thus enlarged, and this relieves the pressure on the nerves / spinal cord (stenosis).
  • Fusion: Spinal fusion by fixating two or more vertebrae in the spine permanently. It can relieve pain by stabilising the spine. It is sometimes used to immobilize painful movements between the vertebrae, caused by degeneration or damaged intervertebral discs.
  • Vertebra plastic: Bone cement is injected in a collapsed vertebrae. This can be useful for broken vertebrae causing pain. Kyphoplasty a likewise procedure but much more expensive. Kyphoplasty is the placing of a balloon in the hole of the compressed vertebra and then inject the bone cement.
  • Artificial Disc: The implantation of an artificial intervertebral disc is an alternative procedure of the fusion of vertebrae (arthrodesis).

CONTEMPLATE ALL OPTIONS

Before accepting back surgery, it is advisable to ask for a second opinion by another specialist in this field. Surgeons differ in their opinions about whether to operate or not and about what kind of surgery.