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What is a spine surgery?

Spine surgery refers to surgical procedures performed on the spine to treat various conditions or injuries that affect the spinal column, including the vertebrae, discs, nerves, and surrounding tissues. The aim of spine surgery is to alleviate pain, restore spinal stability, and improve function and mobility.

What is the most common spine surgery?

The most common spine surgery procedures include: 

  • Discectomy (removal of a herniated disc)
  • Laminectomy (removal of part of the vertebral bone to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves)
  • Spinal fusion (joining two or more vertebrae together)
  • Decompression surgery (to relieve pressure on spinal nerves).

Who does a spine surgery?

Spine surgery is typically performed by a spine surgeon, who is a specialized orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon with additional training in diagnosing and treating spinal conditions. These surgeons have expertise in both surgical and non-surgical treatment options for spine-related disorders.

What is cervical spine surgery?

Cervical spine surgery refers to surgical procedures specifically performed on the cervical spine, which is the upper portion of the spine located in the neck region. It aims to address conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, cervical fractures, spinal deformities, or spinal instability affecting the neck area.

What is a minimally invasive spine surgery?

Minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgery is an advanced surgical technique that uses specialized instruments and smaller incisions to access and treat spinal conditions. It aims to minimize damage to surrounding muscles and tissues, reduce postoperative pain, speed up recovery, and minimize scarring compared to traditional open surgery.

Who is a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery?

Generally, individuals who may be considered candidates for minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgery include:

  • Patients with conditions that can be effectively treated using minimally invasive techniques, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spinal deformities, spinal instability, vertebral fractures, or tumors.
  • Patients who have experienced persistent and debilitating back or neck pain that has not responded to conservative treatments like medication, physical therapy, or injections.
  • Individuals who want to minimize scarring, reduce postoperative pain, and have a faster recovery compared to traditional open surgery.
  • Patients who are in overall good health, without significant medical conditions that may increase the risks associated with surgery.
  • Individuals who have realistic expectations about the potential benefits and limitations of minimally invasive spine surgery.

The suitability for minimally invasive spine surgery is determined on a case-by-case basis. A thorough evaluation by a qualified spine surgeon is necessary to assess the specific condition, medical history, and individual factors to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for MIS surgery.

What is the success rate of a minimally invasive spine surgery?

Many facilities report an 80-90% success rate of a minimally invasive spine surgery. Success is typically measured by pain reduction, improved function, and patient satisfaction.

How long does it take to recover from spine surgery?

The recovery time after spine surgery depends on the type of surgery performed, the condition being treated, your overall health, and healing capabilities. Here are some common spine surgery procedures along with general estimates of recovery times:

  • A discectomy involves the removal of part or all of a herniated or damaged disc. Most patients can expect to return to normal activities after 8 weeks.
  • Spinal fusion is a procedure that joins two or more vertebrae together to provide stability. You may be able to get back to simple activities after 6 weeks, but it may take up to a year for your back to fully recover.
  • Laminectomy involves removing a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. Patients usually can perform simple activities after 4 weeks, and around 4 months to get back to work that requires physical labor.
  • Spinal decompression surgery aims to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. It will take around 6 weeks for you to experience significant improvement.
  • Artificial disc replacement involves removing a damaged disc and replacing it with an artificial disc. On average, the recovery time takes about 5 weeks.
  • Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty are minimally invasive procedures used to treat spinal fractures. Most patients go home the same day and return to regular activities after 2 weeks.

Remember, recovery times vary based on your overall health, age, and adherence to postoperative instructions. The surgeon will provide more specific information regarding the expected recovery time based on your circumstances and the specific procedure performed.

How should I sleep after spine surgery?

After spine surgery, make sure to follow the specific instructions provided by your surgeon. In general, you may be advised to sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow between your legs for proper spinal alignment. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can strain the spine. Your surgeon will provide personalized recommendations based on your specific procedure and condition.