Orthopedic Spine Surgery
Back pain affects millions of Americans. It’s often caused by arthritis, degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, or stenosis. Back pain can negatively affect your quality of life. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive individual treatment plan to set you on the path to recovery and back to an active lifestyle. Treatment does not always involve surgery. Treatment for back problems after a diagnostic workup usually starts with conservative non-interventional approaches and pain management. In fact, nearly 90% of patients experience reduced or eliminated pain after non-surgical treatments. In some, back pain management may become a chronic issue with more advanced treatment interventions. Eventually, some back problems will require surgical intervention.
Whether you've sustained a sports injury, been injured in an accident, or developed back discomfort over time, we provide solutions using the most effective pain management modalities and orthopedic surgery procedures. MISH is now able to offer patients with low back pain a wide variety of treatment options. Our orthopedic spine surgeons work together with our anesthesia pain management specialists to systematically determine the best course of action with surgery reserved for when all other modalities have failed. Please access the Chronic Pain Management tab for more information about pain management options.
If you choose back surgery, or back surgery is being recommended as a treatment option for you, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive or lesser invasive back surgery. As our hospital name implies, minimally invasive surgery is offered whenever possible. A less invasive surgery means smaller incisions, less time in the operating room, less recovery time, less pain and a shorter hospital stay compared to more invasive, traditional back surgeries.
Orthopedic surgeons at MISH offer some of the most advanced surgery techniques in the management of back pain. Our surgeons have performed many of these surgeries. If you suffer from degenerative disk disease, stenosis (pinching of the spinal cord and nerves), herniated disk or arthritis of the spine you may be treated with one of these minimally or lesser invasive surgeries. If you are ready to proceed or have more questions, contact us online or call 913.730.1100.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE BACK SURGERY
Spine surgery was traditionally done as "open surgery," meaning the area being operated on is opened with a long incision to allow the surgeon to view and access the anatomy. In recent years, however, technological advances have allowed more back conditions to be treated with a minimally invasive surgical technique.
This technology can be used for patients who were not previously candidates for spine surgery because of age or other health risk factors. These minimally invasive spine surgery patients can expect:
• Smaller scars instead of one large scar
• Reduced risk of infection or other complications
• Less muscle and tissue damage
• Less blood loss, less post-op pain, and faster recovery
• Little or no hospital stay (many procedures are performed on an outpatient basis)
• A reduced likelihood of needing additional surgery
Types of Surgery
Our surgeons use minimally invasive spine surgery techniques to treat a variety of spine conditions. Common procedures include:
• Posterior lumbar fusion
• Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF)
• Lumbar discectomy
• Lumbar laminectomy
• Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
Spine surgery is typically recommended only when a period of nonsurgical treatment — such as medications and physical therapy — has not relieved the painful symptoms caused by your back problem. In addition, surgery is most effective when the doctor can pinpoint the exact source of your pain, such as a herniated disk or spinal stenosis.
Minimally invasive techniques are beginning to be used for a wider range of spine procedures and have been used for common procedures like decompression and spinal fusion since the 1990s. Decompression relieves pressure put on spinal nerves by removing portions of bone or a herniated disk. Spinal fusion corrects problems with the small bones of the spine (vertebrae). The basic idea is to fuse together the painful vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone.
Because minimally invasive spine surgery does not involve a long incision, it avoids significant damage to the muscles surrounding the spine. In most cases, this results in less pain after surgery and a faster recovery. In a traditional open surgery, the doctor makes an incision that is 5 to 6 inches long and moves the muscles to the side in order to see the spine. With the muscles pulled to the side, the surgeon can access the spine to remove diseased and damaged bone or intervertebral disks. The surgeon can also easily see to place screws, cages, and any bone graft materials necessary to stabilize the spinal bones and promote healing.
One of the major drawbacks of open surgery is that the pulling or "retraction" of the muscle can damage the soft tissue. Although the goal of muscle retraction is to help the surgeon see the problem area, it typically affects more anatomy than the surgeon requires. As a result, there is greater potential for muscle injury, and patients may have pain after surgery that is different from the back pain felt before surgery. This can lead to a lengthier recovery period. Minimally invasive spine surgery was developed to treat spine problems with less injury to the muscles and other normal structures in the spine.
Because minimally invasive techniques do not disrupt muscles and soft tissues, it is believed that postoperative pain is less than pain after traditional open procedures. You should still expect to feel some discomfort, however, advancements in pain control now make it easier for your doctor to manage and relieve pain. To help you regain strength and speed your recovery, your doctor may recommend physical therapy. This will depend on the procedure you had and your general physical condition. Specific exercises will help you become strong enough to return to work and daily activities.
If you have had a fusion procedure, it will be several months before the bone is solid, although your comfort level will often improve much faster. During this healing time, the fused spine must be kept in proper alignment. You will be taught how to move properly, reposition, sit, stand, and walk. How long it will take to return to your daily activities depends on your individual procedure and condition. Your doctor will do an evaluation after your surgery to ensure your recovery is progressing as expected.