Spinal surgery covers many procedures that are performed to address chronic neck and back pain issues, as well as sciatica, which can be caused by degenerative disc disease, slipped discs, herniated discs, and arthritis. These surgeries are now done using minimally invasive techniques, but still, each one is a major surgery. The decision to undergo spinal surgery should be thoroughly discussed and explored with your spine surgeon.
Below are some of the most common spinal surgery questions answered.
Question #1 What is spinal surgery?
Some of the most commonly performed spinal surgeries are laminectomies, microdiscectomies, and fusion surgery. A laminectomy involves the removal of the back part of a vertebra to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. A microdiscectomy involves the removal of the bone and soft tissue fragments that are pressing on the nerve root. Fusion surgery involves the fusion of two vertebrae with a bone graft to stabilize the spine.
Question #2 Who performs spinal surgery?
An orthopedic spine surgeon performs spinal surgery. Orthopedic surgeons undergo advanced fellowship training in spinal surgery to become more specialized in the most advanced surgeries for better patient outcomes.
Question #3 What are the risks associated with spinal surgery?
Every surgery carries risks. However, the risks of spinal surgery go down significantly with your choice of a spine surgeon, and the quality of the hospital the doctor is affiliated with. Minimally invasive techniques used in microdiscectomy, for example, lower the risk of complications for patients, since the incisions are tiny, and the doctor can clearly visualize the spine with the use of advanced tools. To help minimize risks, follow your doctor’s post-operative instructions.
Question #4 What should I expect before my spinal surgery?
Prior to undergoing spinal surgery, patients should be in the best possible condition, which also plays a part in a successful surgical outcome and recovery. Quit smoking, do exercises approved by your spine surgeon, and stop taking certain medications depending on the advice of your surgical team. You may need to fast before your surgery and take antibiotics after it. Your surgical team will give you detailed instructions before the day of surgery.
Question #5 How long does recovery take after having a spinal surgery?
Recovery time following spinal surgery varies depending on the type of surgery performed, the condition of the patient, and how closely they follow the post-operative instructions. Any complication can delay your recovery. Generally, it can take up to eight weeks to return to normal activities from a microdiscectomy, laminectomy, or fusion.
Question #6 Are there non-surgical alternatives available for treating back pain?
There are non-surgical treatments for spine issues, such as nerve blocks, steroid injections, and radiofrequency ablation, which target the nerves that are sending out pain signals, and of course, physical therapy. Spine surgeons usually exhaust these options before recommending spinal surgery.
Question #7 Is insurance coverage needed for undergoing a spine-related surgical procedure?
Spinal surgery is usually covered by insurance in most cases – check with your insurance provider and choose a spinal surgeon that accepts your insurance.
Spinal Surgeon in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, Michigan
Dr. Bradley Ahlgren is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon affiliated with Beaumont Hospital. Dr. Ahlgren has advanced training in laminectomy, microdiscectomy, and fusion and has performed each surgery numerous times. In addition to surgery, we also provide pain management and physical therapy services.
To consult with Dr. Ahlgren about spinal surgery, call our office today at (248) 215-8080 or use our online request form. We look forward to providing you with the best spine treatments in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, Michigan.