Lumbar surgery is effective for cases where more conservative treatments fail to provide adequate results. Surgery aims to resolve the underlying mechanical issues causing symptoms, such as slipped discs and bone spurs.
While surgery can be expensive and may have a lengthy recovery time, it usually improves mobility and offers long-lasting pain relief. Let’s talk about what lumbar surgery is, what to expect during an operation, and where you can go in Michigan for outstanding lumbar surgery.
Undergoing surgery takes a significant toll on the human body. Not everyone qualifies for surgery, especially patients with health issues that can impact the healing process. Your doctor will only recommend surgery if they feel it’s the best option for addressing your spine condition.
Days or weeks before your scheduled operation, you will have to attend a pre-operative assessment to verify that you’re fit to undergo surgery. This assessment may include general diagnostics, such as a blood test and physical examinations. You may also be recommended imaging tests, such as an x-ray or an MRI scan. These scans will allow doctors to observe the structure of your spine, confirm problem spots, and plan their approach for back surgery.
Your doctor will instruct you not to eat or drink anything for around six hours before back surgery. Depending on your medications, your doctor might also recommend temporary changes to avoid any undesired effects on the operation.
On the day of the back surgery, you will be admitted into the hospital and counseled by your surgeon. Your surgeon will explain the procedure, its risks, and its benefits. After signing a consent form, you’ll be admitted to the operating room.
Lumbar back surgery starts with your surgeon making incisions to expose your spine. They will use tools to part muscles and other soft tissues, exposing the spine while minimizing incisions.
The particular type of back surgery you’ll undergo will depend on your condition. One standard procedure, discectomy, involves the removal of the damaged portions of the cartilage discs between the vertebrae. When these discs are damaged, their contents can bulge and leak out, compressing the nearby nerves. Removing the damaged contents helps relieve pressure on the nerves, alleviating symptoms. As much as possible, your surgeon will preserve undamaged portions of the disc so they can still provide shock absorption for the spine.
Laminectomy is another type of surgery that removes tissue from your spine. In this procedure, small portions of bone are removed from the spinal column to permit more space for the spinal cord and other nerves. Removal of excess bone decompresses the nerves and allows them to heal.
Spinal fusion involves the addition of a bone graft to stabilize the specific vertebrae. Fusing vertebrae can help stabilize the spine after removing a damaged disc or correcting postural defects. It also prevents excessive movement that would otherwise exacerbate conditions, such as arthritis of the spine. Surgeons obtain the bone graft from your pelvis or a bone bank in this operation. The graft is secured to the vertebrae using screws and rods and left there until the bone fully heals and binds the two vertebrae.
Open vs. Minimally Invasive Surgery
Most surgical treatments can be either open (traditional) or minimally invasive. The traditional surgery method involves using incisions to cut the muscles and connective tissues covering the spine. Wide incisions are necessary to visualize the spine and provide space for other surgical instruments but require a longer recovery time and may increase the risk of complications such as bleeding. Your surgeon can optimize traditional open surgery by choosing how to approach the spine, as the incisions can be made either through the back or side of your body.
In contrast, minimally invasive procedures use specialized equipment to reduce the need for large incisions. A specialized tube allows surgeons to visualize the spine and manipulate tissue through miniaturized tools. With this scope, small incisions are sufficient to conduct the surgical operation. Minimally invasive procedures tend to promote quicker recovery times.
The choice of back surgery approach depends on your healthcare facility, your surgeon, and yourself. Minimally invasive surgery leads to a faster recovery but may not be available in some hospitals due to the potential unavailability of specialized tools and training. It can also be more expensive, and some people might not be eligible for the operation due to other health issues. Therefore, select a reputable healthcare provider who can advise you appropriately on your options.
Lumbar Surgery in Michigan
If you are planning for lumbar surgery, visit no other than Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery. We provide state-of-the-art treatments for spinal conditions through its facilities all over Michigan.
To know more about our services or schedule an appointment, call us today at (248) 215-8080 or fill out our online appointment request form.