Enough is Enough: When to Get Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery
Mar 09, 2017
If you’ve suffered from back pain, you know how it can alter your entire perspective.
When the pain is intermittent or not enough to keep you up at night, it’s easy enough to make regular visits to a chiropractor, get massages or seek out other treatments to alleviate the pain.
But it’s another story when the pain interrupts every aspect of your life.
When is it time to consider surgery?
Advancements in medicine and technology have allowed those who suffer from severe back pain to find relief through minimally invasive surgery (MIS).
If other conservative treatments have failed to work and your pain is persistent and disabling, back surgery could be a viable option.
Compressed nerves in your spine can lead to pain or numbness that goes down one or both arms and legs. Back surgery will often relieve this.
But how do the nerves become compressed? Well, it could be a couple of situations:
Problems with your disks
Between each vertebra of the spine are rubbery cushions called discs.
When one of these discs is bulging or ruptured (also known as herniated) it can press too tightly against a spinal nerve and affect its function.
Overgrowth of bone
If you develop osteoarthritis, it can result in bone spurs on your spine.
This excess bone can narrow the amount of available space for nerves to pass through openings in your spine.
Once have a diagnosis, you want to fully understand your condition.
You’ll also benefit by developing a positive attitude. You can do this by:
- Asking as many questions as you can (there’s no such thing as too many)
- Knowing what the proposed surgery is supposed to do, how it will be performed and what to expect afterward
- Inquiring if your doctor can give you any written information or direct you to books, brochures, websites, or videos where you can learn more about your condition and the recommended procedure
- Considering the risks of not having surgery – such as continued pain, further nerve damage, or even permanent disability
Ultimately, when faced with the option of minimally invasive surgery, you need to ask yourself what impact your condition has on your quality of life. How will it be affected if you do not have surgery?
Many MIS surgical procedures don’t require cutting muscles or soft tissues.
And a lot of different types of spinal disorders are now treated using MIS surgical procedures including discectomy, laminotomy, laminectomy, decompression, spinal fusion, and instrumentation.
MIS surgery can:
- help shorten the hospital stay
- reduce blood loss during surgery
- reduce the risk of infection
- lessen muscle and tissue injury
- decrease postoperative pain and the need for pain medications
Plus, there is usually a smaller scar, faster healing, and a quicker return to normal activities.
Still, you’ll want to consider all your options.
Spine surgeons may have differing opinions about when to operate, what type of surgery to perform, or whether surgery is even in your best interest.
If you’re considering back surgery, look into getting a second opinion from a qualified spine specialist such as one at the Spine Institute Northwest.