What is spinal surgery?
The Spine or vertebral column is an important, complicated structure that houses the Spinal Cord and serves as a pillar to support the body’s weight. A healthy spine is important to ensure a good quality of life. The spine, however, is susceptible to several medical issues; this includes diseases such as Spina bifida, Spondylolisthesis, and Spinal disc herniation (slipped disc). It can also be affected by injuries caused by accidents, sports, etc. Other spinal issues include birth defects and Spinal tumors.
While many spinal issues can be treated by medicine and therapy, the modern, sedentary lifestyle has led to a massive increase in the risk of back pains and injuries, and as a consequence, the increasing need for spinal surgeries.
You have to consider many questions before going for spine surgery. Some of the vital questions include:
- Will the surgery be necessary to treat the issue?
- Is a non-surgical method appropriate to treat the problem?
- Is it better to have a traditional spine surgery or a minimally invasive spinal surgery?
Why Choose Narayana Health for Spinal Surgery?
The Neuro Surgeons of Narayana Health carry with them years of training, experience, and practice. They are equipped with the latest surgical instruments and are supported by capable medical professionals to ensure the right diagnosis, care, and treatment of patients with spinal ailments. They have capable physiotherapists and support staff too to help patients recover faster, attain mobility, and have freedom after their surgical procedures.
Our neurosurgeons are experts at performing various types of spine surgeries. Surgery can be helpful when you’re suffering from spine problems that can be physically corrected such as a herniated disc or spondylolisthesis. It’s essential, however, for cases of serious infection or tumor.
When do you need spinal surgery?
Once you understand the necessity of having spinal surgery and you have narrowed down on spine surgery hospitals in India, then you will understand the type of surgery you will need as well. Usually, a patient will know they need spine surgery when they have extreme back pain and the primary care physician will refer them to a spine surgery hospital in India where they can visit a specialist.
Sometimes the issue will not be severe and non-surgical options will be recommended. If activities like exercise and medicines don’t improve your condition, then surgery can be your only option.
Back surgery is usually the last option, it is only recommended when the conservative treatments stop working and the pain is consistent. Back surgery helps relieve any pain or numbness that shoots up and down your arms or legs. Pain and numbness are usual symptoms that are caused due to compressed nerves in your spine. The nerves may get compressed for many reasons like-
- Disc problems - Ruptured or herniated disks can get pressed tightly against a spinal nerve and begin to affect its function
- Overgrowth of bone - Osteoarthritis results in bone spurs on your spine. The excess bone will usually affect the hinge joints that are located at the back of the spinal column and it can narrow the space, which allows the nerves to pass through the spine.
It can be challenging to spot the exact cause of back pain, even if the X-Rays show that you have disk problems or bone spurs. Usually, the bone spurs or herniated disks will need non-surgical treatments and they will have minimal symptoms.
Benefits of spine surgery:
The results are much more than reduced pain, here are some of the vital benefits you will find post back surgery-
- You can move around better, and experience less pain
- Physically fit
- Mood improves
- Less requirement for pain medication
- You can go back to your daily routine
- More productive at work
Reasons to get a Spinal surgery
To take the pressure off the nerves
Before you look up various types of spine surgery, identify the condition you are suffering from. Some issues like spinal stenosis and disc herniation tend to compress the spinal nerves in the spinal column. This phenomenon can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, and other severe symptoms. This is when your doctor will recommend a spinal surgery to avoid any permanent impairment. The surgeries recommended here will be laminectomy, ALIF, or XLIF.
Stabilizing an unstable spine
An unstable spine is one that is weak and can’t hold its natural form under normal conditions. A healthy spine will provide structure and stability to the body, but an unhealthy and unstable spine won’t hold together the spinal ligaments, muscles, discs, and bones; hampering the regular functionality of the body. Surgery for unstable spines will be required if the symptoms move on to untraceable back pain, leg pain, or significant neurologic problems from the pinched nerve.
Realigning a crooked spine
Some conditions like scoliosis and flat-back syndrome will affect the natural curve of the spine and it can lead to many impairments. Scoliosis is usually treated non-surgically and through braces, along with consistent physical therapy. However, in instances where the spinal curvature is intense and more than a certain degree, then surgery is needed to realign the spine. The same option goes for patients suffering from flat-back syndrome, especially if the symptoms are not relieved through non-surgical measures. Narayana Health Multispeciality is one of the best hospitals for scoliosis surgery in India.
Here are some of the most common spine surgeries:
This is a type of surgery where a herniated disc is removed.
- Microsurgical - In this case, the damaged part of the disc along with a part of the bone covering the spinal canal is removed with the help of a microscope.
This is a type of surgery done to enlarge the spinal column when spinal stenosis creates pressure on the root of the nerves. In this surgical procedure, the lamina which acts as a protective back cover to the spinal cord is removed.
In this type of surgery, two or more vertebrae are fused by placing implants. When a spine has been affected by tumors or infections, then it causes pain when normal movements such as lifting or bending are done. Spinal fusion helps to prevent the motion between the vertebrae that causes the pain from the affected spines. It can also help to stop the growth of a spinal deformity such as scoliosis, or an injured or loose vertebra.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty
These surgeries are very similar and performed to alleviate the pain and other related problems like compression fractures of vertebrae. The vertebrae are injected with a cement-like substance using a very thick injection. Although the procedure for both these surgeries is identical, however, kyphoplasty has an extra step. Before injecting the substance, a balloon-like device is inserted into the vertebra and inflated to prevent any deformity.
This is a surgical procedure that is mostly performed at major spine surgery hospitals in India. It involves implanting artificial disks as a treatment alternative to spinal fusion, especially if you’re experiencing painful movement between two vertebrae (caused due to injured or degenerated discs). However, these new discs aren’t an option for everybody.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS): is an upcoming aspect of modern-day Spine surgery practice.
Endoscopic and Laparoscopic surgery are well-established entities for various surgical problems. Minimally invasive Spine surgery offers similar advantages for the management of spine problems.
As compared to open surgery, MISS approaches involve multiple small or keyhole access to the spine. This makes surgery faster, less painful, and enables quick recovery. Advantages of MISS are:
- Better cosmetic results from smaller skin incisions (sometimes as small as several millimetres)
- Less blood loss from surgery
- Reduced risk of muscle damage, since less or no cutting of the muscle, is required
- Reduced risk of infection and postoperative pain
- Faster recovery from surgery and less rehabilitation required
- Diminished reliance on pain medications after surgery
- Some MISS surgeries can also be performed under local anaesthesia and as daycare procedures, which makes the hospital stay very short.
Conditions treated using MISS procedures:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Spinal infections
- Spinal instability including spondylolisthesis
- Vertebral compression fractures
- Spinal tumors
Dynamic Spine surgery:
In these cases special Implants are fixed spine that prevent further excessive movement & pressure over the nerve and maintain the spine mobility.
What are the differences between traditional and minimally invasive spine surgery?
Traditional open spine surgery involves the complete opening of your body organs hence called open spine surgery. In minimally invasive spine surgery, human anatomy is less exposed, which means less downtime in recovery. In minimally invasive surgery, additional surgical instruments are needed, such as intraoperative spinal navigation. This provides greater visibility to the surgeon with more flexibility and better control.
But the goal of both procedures is to reduce blood loss, lower infection, faster recovery, and less stay at the hospital. Minimally invasive surgery results in an easy recovery process for the patients. However, not every patient’s body may approve minimally invasive surgery. Ask your healthcare, which is the best spine treatment in India.
Consider all your options
Before you agree to have spinal surgery, you must do your research and weigh all your options. Always get an opinion from a verified specialist who works at a reputed hospital. Spine surgeons will offer their opinion on what type of surgery is best for you and whether the surgery is needed. Back and leg pain can be a complicated issue and it will require a team of health professionals to diagnose and treat the issue.
It’s important to note that spinal surgery is a joint decision between you and your doctor. If they recommend surgery and you don’t agree to it, it may lead to long-term problems; especially, if the nerves in your spinal cord are compressed by a degenerative condition. Whether you need surgery or not, a healthy lifestyle is important to prevent any sort of back pain in the future.
What to look for in a good spine surgeon?
A good spine surgeon is committed to taking care of the patient and delivering excellent outcomes in response to the success rate of the surgeries. He should be willing to adapt to new ideas and techniques and practice them thoroughly. He should understand people and be compassionate to their needs. He should be willing to communicate and explain the reason for surgeries to the patients and offer them the right kind of advice in between the different surgical approaches without keeping personal interest in mind.
Spine Surgery FAQ's
Most back pains can be treated without surgery. Surgeries are mostly conducted in the case of musculoskeletal injuries or any form of nerve compression. Ruptured disks, spinal stenosis, vertebral fractures are some of the conditions that demand a back or spine surgery. Different types of surgeries include,
- Spinal Laminectomy
- Spinal Fusion
- Artificial Disk Replacement
Risks in spine surgery are minimal. that said, the possibility exists and can include:
- Neurological defecits
- Reaction to medication or anesthesia
- Blood clots in your lungs or legs
- Nerve damage.
- Heart attack
The occurrence of risks depends on the condition of the patient and the type of surgery performed.
Recovery from back surgery depends on various factors such as the patient’s condition before the surgery, age, and the type of surgery conducted.
- Discectomy - It’s a surgical procedure to remove a part or all of your disc. Recovery after this surgery is mostly quick but you may feel pain and weakness along the path of the nerve but it should pass in a few weeks.
- Fusion surgery and laminectomy - In this case, you can take longer for recovery. Healing of the bones can go anywhere from 3 months to a year.
- Spinal Fusion - Recovery from spinal fusion can take anywhere from a month to 6 months for recovery. In the case of spinal fusion, recovery can also depend on the age of the patient.
Laminectomy is one of the most common types of spine surgery. In Laminectomy, the surgeon removes a part of the bone called lamina or ligaments in your back. After the surgery, the pressure on the spinal nerves is released which eases the pain or weakness in the area.
Mostly your primary physician will refer you to a good spine surgeon. Always ensure that the surgeon you’re referred to-
- Is qualified and has experience of performing successful spine surgeries
- The hospital that the doctor is associated with
- The doctor should be able to give you precise and clear details about your condition and the surgery