Back pain is quite a common medical condition; almost every person has groaned “oh, my back!” once in their lifetime. The reasons for the back pain can be numerous ranging from minor muscle pull to severe disc herniation. Surgical treatment is required for back pain that is chronic and persists for more than a month. In the following paragraphs, you will be explained why open spine surgery is required, how it is performed, and other related information to help you understand the procedure.
When patients come to doctors complaining about back pain, initially doctors try to cure them with conservative treatments (read about comparison between surgical and nonsurgical back pain treatments). These include using medications, physiotherapies, massage, and other non-invasive techniques. However, if the spine is damaged severely, for example, there is a fracture in the vertebra, and the doctor sees no use in giving nonsurgical treatments, he/she will recommend an appropriate surgery.
Now, choosing between open or closed surgery takes into account multiple factors;
Before we go on to explain the procedure for open spine surgery, let’s go through pre-op instructions.
A standard open spine surgery starts with a large incision. There are two approaches used; Anterior and Posterior. Under the anterior approach, the incision is made in front of the body whereas, in the posterior approach, the surgeon accesses the vertebrae from the back of the body. The size of the incision is normally about six inches. After making an incision, the surgeon will get access to the vertebrae by dissecting the spinal muscles. This process of pulling spinal muscles away from the bone is called retraction.
Once the doctor has access to the affected region, he/she will perform necessary surgical procedures. These include removing a part or whole of the vertebra, fusing multiple vertebrae, etc. Following the procedure, the surgeon easily places screws or bone graft material to provide stability to the spine. After the surgery is complete, ligaments, skin, and muscles are stitched back as they were before.
The patient is transferred to an observation room where he/she is carefully monitored. The doctor and staff look for any signs of complication while the anesthesia wears off. Surgical drains can also be used for draining out any blood collected in epidural space during surgery.
In the past, all the surgeries were open and therefore it is also called a traditional surgical method. However, with the advent of technology, it is now possible to perform some surgeries with the help of cameras and endoscopy instruments. This procedure is getting popularity as the traditional methods pose several risks;
Recovery from open spine surgery entails great discipline in terms of taking recommended diet, doing appropriate exercises, and having prescribed medication. You will need to follow a new lifestyle for a couple of months after your surgery. Given below are some of the things you can do to make your recovery comfortable and fast;
Being in a situation where you need open spine surgery can be quite stressful. However, an experienced and empathetic spine surgeon working in one of the best neurosurgical clinics in Los Angeles can make things easy for you. That’s what Moksha Ranasinghe MD offers. You can schedule an appointment with her simply by filling out the contact form or calling 213-369-4583.