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ABOUT THE SPINE SURGERY
SPINE SURGERY IS YOUR ONLY TREATMENT OPTION ???
Sometimes, surgery is the only treatment. However, there’s good news. The vast majority of back problems can be remedied with non-surgical treatments—often referred to as non-surgical or conservative therapies.
Aging, improper body mechanics, trauma and structural abnormalities can injure your spine, leading to back pain and other symptoms such as leg pain and/or numbness or even leg weakness. Chronic back pain is a condition that generally requires a team of health professionals to diagnose and treat. Before resigning yourself to surgery, consider getting opinions from several spine specialists. This investment of time and information-gathering will help you make an informed treatment decision that will best support your lifestyle and desired level of physical activity.
WHAT ABOUT CONSERVATIVE TREATMENT?
As with all non-emergency spinal surgeries, a trial of non-operative treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication—preferably an anti-inflammatory, or bracing should be observed before surgery is considered. The trial period of conservative treatment varies, but six weeks to six months is the general timeframe.
Spine surgery may be recommended if non-surgical treatment such as medications and physical therapy fails to relieve symptoms. Surgery is only considered in cases where the exact source of pain can be determined—such as a herniated disc, scoliosis, or spinal stenosis.
Whether open surgery or MISS, the spine can be accessed from different directions. These are referred to as surgical approaches and are explained below:
COMMON SURGICAL PROCEDURES
There are a number of conditions that may lead to spine surgery. Common procedures include:
Examples of spinal instrumentation include plates, bone screws, rods, and interbody devices; although, there are other types of devices your surgeon may recommend in treatment of your spinal disorder. The purpose of instrumentation is to stabilize or fix the spine in position until the fusion solidifies.
PRE OPERATIVE STEPS
WHAT ARE THE STEPS TO FOLLOW BEFORE SURGERY?
Most patients who undergo spinal surgery have weeks or months to prepare for their procedure. It's important to learn as much as you can about your spine surgery. In this article, you will learn about the pre-operative steps to help you prepare for your procedure.
IMPORTANCE OF PREOPERATIVE EVALUATION
Surgical procedures of any type carry varying amounts of risk. A surgical risk assessment combines this risk percentage with the patient’s physical and emotional health. During the preoperative evaluation, facts about the patient’s health (eg, pre-existing conditions such as diabetes) are investigated enabling medical staff to take pro-active steps to reduce surgical risk.
This evaluation includes an in-depth review of the patient’s medical history, findings from x-rays, CT scans, MRI studies, and/or other diagnostic tests. The patient’s general health is reviewed during a physical and neurological examination.
The preoperative evaluation identifies physical conditions (existing and unknown) that could cause surgical complications (eg, cardiac or breathing difficulties). In some cases, the patient may be referred to a medical specialist for consultation prior to surgery.
The pre-operative evaluation helps the medical staff provide the patient with the correct amount of:
MEDICAL HISTORY AND EXAMINATION
A detailed medical history gathers information about allergies (eg, to medication, food, allergens), side effects from medication, medication and/or dietary supplements taken daily, pre-existing medical conditions, family history, tobacco and alcohol use, bleeding history and previous surgical experiences (eg, problems with anesthesia).
Any condition affecting the cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and nervous systems can increase surgical risk. Understanding these problems and addressing them before and during surgery can make the spinal procedure safer.
A small blood sample can provide a wealth of information about the patient’s general health. A low red blood cell count (hemoglobin) may indicate the presence of anemia. Red blood cells are needed to carry oxygen throughout the body. White blood cells (WBC) are needed to fight infection. Platelets are the smallest cells in the blood and are essential to blood coagulation. A partial thromboplastin time (PTT) test reveals clot formation time. The level of glucose (sugar) in the blood (blood glucose level) is helpful in determining if the patient has diabetes or is hypoglycemic (low blood sugar).
Electrolytes are needed for metabolic function. For example, calcium is necessary for contraction of skeletal muscle as well as relaxation of cardiac muscle. Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) indicates metabolic function of the liver and kidney efficiency.
A urinalysis detects urinary tract infection, kidney function, diabetes, and the body’s state of hydration/dehydration.