The prospect of having spine surgery won’t exactly fill anyone with the joys of spring, yet there may well be a number of reasons why a health professional might have suggested you consider the options available to you. Our spines are responsible for our essential manoeuvrability and should our natural freedom of movement be seriously restricted, then nine times out of ten it’s due to the dysfunction of the spine in one way or another. With signals being relentlessly sent back and forth between the spine and the brain to convey the appropriate message to the relevant part of our bodies which need to function then and there, the human spine is, arguably, the most integral part of our anatomical set-up; and ultimately serves purposes, priority-wise up there with both our brains and hearts.
The subject of spine surgery isn’t then a decision which has been arrived at lightly, nor without much discussion and pontification beforehand, we would imagine; as nobody would even think about venturing down this avenue without sound reasoning. Be it to relive pressure on nerves which might be pinched as a direct result of an unresolved spinal issue, to stabilize an unstable spine or indeed, to realign a crooked one. But these are just a handful of explanations as to why someone would realistically run the rule over opting for spine surgery, having first being guided by their GP or a specialist consultant.
Scrutinising the above mentioned factors which could lead to serious thoughts about having spine surgery performed on an individual, the alleviation of nerve pressure tends to be a popular theme. Disc herniation or spinal stenosis are just two conditions which effectively compress the nerves within the spinal column, the symptoms of which are habitually tingling sensations, numbness, muscle weakness and of course, a certain degree of pain experienced by the sufferer. With a view to side-step more lasting damage and physical impairment, spine surgery is often brought to the attention of those affected, with surgeries such as laminectomy typically proving a successful course of action to remedy the situation. Meanwhile an unstable spine places increased pressure on the victim’s body and their ability to undertake everyday tasks, and is the by-product if you like of a raft of health implications which severely impact on the well being of those dealing with such issues.
Patient Options Increased Courtesy of Successes of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Spinal fractures, extreme disc injuries and spondylolisthesis in particular are conditions which run concurrently with the onset of what’s clinically described as an unstable spine. In Layman’s terms this indicates when the spinal column is no longer able to maintain its natural form and function, and compromises the natural way in which a healthy spine would provide structure, protection, and support for the body as a whole. Once it becomes unstable large question marks hang over the continued fusibility of the conjoined spinal ligaments, discs, bones and muscles, and moreover their unit-like ability to undertake every day commands.
Elsewhere the natural curvature of the spine is physically challenged when conditions such as scoliosis, kyphosis, and flat-back syndrome come into play; thus often resulting in what’s medically referred to as a crooked spine. A number of impairments subsequently present, which hamper movement in the sufferer, and from an aesthetical perspective require realignment as part of the corrective process. Along with bracing and the introduction of physical therapies, surgical intervention is often required to realign the spine.
The biggest unanswered question for a lot of people facing up to the decision of whether or not to pursue spine surgery remains a simple one though. Simply put, is it the right solution for me? Understandably only you and your healthcare specialist can determine this, but come what may you need to be aware of the processes, protocols and practices long before you decide to take the plunge or not. After the gap we take a brief look at just what options might serve a purpose for individuals currently weighing up the pros and cons of spine surgery, to afford you a clearer picture of what might lie ahead.
There might come a point at which for some people who have a history of spinal problems, when all non-surgical treatment options have been tried and tested to no significant avail. If and when this juncture is arrived at then it may well be prudent to run the rule over the theory and practice relating to what’s broadly referred to as ‘minimally invasive spine surgery’, or the well-versed acronym, MISS. In terms of who might be in the most fortuitous position to benefit from its administration, then for the most part experts point towards those individuals who have almost certainly exhausted various non-surgical procedures to tackle their chronic back or neck pain previously. With achievable goals including pain reduction and mobility increasing chief among reasons for going ahead with minimally invasive spine surgery, many of those who have chosen this option talk of noted improvements in their quality of life in the aftermath, despite harbouring reservations from the outset.
What Exactly is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
Often cited as the last chance saloon, MISS essentially takes up where pain management and therapies which concentrate on physical strengthening left off. However, in the event the chronic levels of pain experienced by many sufferers of spinal conditions proves the tipping point, especially so if mobility is significantly inhibited even after going down the aforementioned routes. Hence why clinical consultants might invite patients to entertain the idea of endoscopic-means of minimally invasive spine surgery. With regards to the actual mechanics of MISS, and we’re talking about highly advanced procedures that represent widely-observed intrusion-lite surgery with direct reference to a number of conditions which impact negatively on the spine’s functionality and, as a by-product are responsible for degrees of pain in sufferers.
Whereas during established and recognised open spinal surgery the patient’s problem area is accessed by way of an often-sizeable vertical incision, the opposite is true when it comes to minimally invasive spine surgery, which sees a less lengthy (and notable intrusive) incision created by the surgeon, who will frequent scalpel-sized instrumentation or, alternatively, a laser in more recent times. The desired end game of any surgery of this ilk is to realistically reduce the pressure experienced by those who suffer from painful spinal conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis and facet joint syndrome, while simultaneously ensuring that due to the minimally invasive techniques, any disruption of the proximate tissue will be negligible.
Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Right for Me?
Although not for everyone, MISS draws on a multitude of advantages it has over more traditional clinical means of both attempting to correct spinal conditions courtesy of dedicated surgical measures and/or create an environment conducive to longer-term rehabilitation. Professional outfits, such as Joimax make such a spine surgery a viable option. Among the plus points, the underlying fact that smaller incisions are necessitated (thus causing minimal collateral tissue damage to surrounding areas, which subsequently equals reduced cosmetic damage) and the need for tissue removal in the targeted areas between where the initial point-of-entry incision is made and X that marks the surgery spot itself is eradicated, prove enticing makeweights in the deal provisionally made between surgeon and patient.
Additionally, general anaesthetic often becomes a thing of the past when facing up to the prospect of minimally invasive spine surgery too, largely thanks to the less hostile physical approach taken which effectively goes a long way to eliminating any complications which have been known to result from the administering of general anaesthetic in a few instances. Other factors which give MISS the edge over long-standing alternative means of medically addressing spine conditions comprise of a marked downturn in potential blood loss and diminished risk of infection, along with a decrease in recovery time. The whole process is normally completed in an outpatient capacity, taking in the region of a couple of hours. Impact on the patient’s life and work also fares better in this scenario too, with individual’s typically returning to work within a fortnight of MISS.
Are there Any Risks I Should be Made Aware of, Re: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?
As with any types of surgery, certain risks are commonly associated, not least due to the complexities involved in the procedure, one of which is intraoperative radiation exposure. Also, you cannot rule out that some patients could experience an adverse reaction if and when anaesthetic is administered. Other risks worth acknowledging – but not necessarily impacting on a patient percentage worth worrying about – are those of blood clotting, spinal fluid leakage, injuries affecting the nerves and incidental durotomy. Again, as with any surgeries performed, an individual’s age, immune system state, tobacco and/or food intake and underlying health issues should be taken into account and could figure in terms of possible complications.
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