This blog comprehensively understands back surgery, its types, risks and benefits.
What is back surgery?
The main objective of back surgery is to cure pain linked to the back and the spine. Several conditions can lead to back pain.
Patients with back pain must consult a doctor for appropriate treatment or surgical procedures. Undergoing any back surgery may look risky. But today, with new technology, patients can be treated with highly-effective, minimally invasive surgeries that may eliminate pain and shorten the recovery time.
Why is back surgery performed?
People can undergo back surgery if they have:
- Herniated or ruptured discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Vertebral fractures
In rare cases, a tumour, an infection, or a nerve root problem known as cauda equina syndrome causes back pain.
What are the types of back surgery?
The types of back surgery include:
In this procedure, the surgeon removes the spinal disc between two or more vertebrae to fuse adjacent vertebrae with bone grafts or metal devices with screws. The patients opting for this surgery may experience a certain loss of flexibility and have a long road to recovery. The recovery period allows the bone grafts to develop and helps vertebrae to fuse.
Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty
The two procedures are performed by surgeons to repair the compression fractures of the vertebrae due to osteoporosis. In both these procedures, the patient gets injected with a glue-like bone cement that hardens to strengthen the bone.
Spinal laminectomy or spinal decompression
When spinal stenosis narrows the spinal canal, it results in pain, numbness, or weakness. However, the procedure relieves the pressure on the nerves by removing the bony walls of the vertebrae or any bone spurs that opens the spinal column.
A herniated disc that puts pressure on the nerve root or the spinal cord, causing pain, is removed in the discectomy procedure. The two procedures that are performed together are laminectomy and discectomy.
Here, the boney hole where a nerve root exits the spinal canal gets expanded, preventing bulging discs or joints that have thickened with age from pressing on the nerve.
Nuceloplasty, also known as plasma disc decompression
Is a laser surgery that uses radiofrequency energy. The procedure treats lower back patients experiencing pain with a mildly herniated disc. In this procedure, the surgeon inserts a needle into the disc through which a plasma laser device is also inserted, and the tip is heated. Thus, vaporizing the tissues in the disc reduces its size and relieves pressure on the nerves.
What is the recovery time after back surgery?
After back surgery, patients can experience pain. After discussing with the doctor various pain management treatment options, some of the treatment options include:
- Medications include opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and local anaesthetics.
What are the benefits of back surgery?
The benefits of back surgery are:
- Increases fitness and mobility
- Resumes normal activities
- Increases productivity
- Decreases back pain
When to seek medical assistance?
If a patient experiences complications, they should immediately contact their healthcare provider.
What are the risks of back surgery?
As any surgery carries risk, so does back surgery. However, back surgery carries higher risks than other types of surgery as it is performed close to the nervous system. Paralysis and infections are the most serious types of risks of back surgery.
Although the surgery may be successful, the recovery time may depend on the type of surgery and the patient’s health before the surgery. This, affects the recovery time to a few months. The chances of permanent loss of flexibility are high.
Several conditions can cause pain linked to back pain. People must consult the doctor to discuss the treatment options because they will try various non-surgical treatments before performing back surgery. Doctors perform many types of back surgery depending on people’s conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is the most significant risk of back surgery?
The most significant risk of back surgery is that the procedure may fail to relieve pain. The patient must openly discuss their options with the surgeon to make them aware of their health conditions. The surgeon may also explain the procedure before performing it.
2. Which anaesthesia will doctors use to perform back surgery?
Doctors use general anaesthesia to perform back surgery.