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Spinal surgery

Expert assessment and treatment for spinal concerns

The spine is the central support structure of the body. Comprised of a series of small bones (vertebrae), nerves, joints, ligaments, muscles and soft cushions of tissue (discs), it is an incredibly complex structure and provides a variety of functions.

Spinal problems are often mechanical in origin and caused by wear and tear. However, very rarely there may be a link to a more serious condition which needs urgent attention.

A problem in the spine can have significant, sometimes life-changing effects on health, mobility and quality of life.

Common symptoms of a spinal problem include:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sciatica (pain radiating down your leg into your foot)
  • Referred pain
  • Numbness/weakness
  • Spinal deformity (like an abnormal curve in the spine)

If you have any concerns about the health of your spine, it is sensible to get expert assessment and advice. The Consultant Spinal Surgeons at BMI Bishops Wood in Middlesex provide management and treatment for a wide range of symptoms and conditions. They would be delighted to help you. 

The vast majority of people will experience a sore or stiff back or neck at some point. This is often from a sports injury, or after they have lifted something heavy at an unusual angle. Pain may be immediate, although often it will get gradually worse over a period of time.  

When symptoms are mild and not interfering with movement, it can be easy to dismiss them. If the symptoms become more severe and are affecting daily life, it is far harder to ignore them! It will often be at this point that a person realises they need to get medical help.  

To treat any spinal condition, it is crucial to have an accurate diagnosis.  

It may be found that the cause of your symptoms is nothing serious and that your symptoms should ease naturally with suitable rest and time. Other times, it may be discovered that treatment will be needed to successfully resolve the problem.  

If you would appreciate expert assessment and advice, why not book an appointment with one of our experienced spinal surgeons?  

Although you will be meeting with a spinal surgeon, it is important to know that surgery will not be needed to successfully treat many spinal conditions. Spinal treatments include: 

  • Core muscle rehabilitation – can help strengthen the spine and supporting structures
  • Pain relief medication (analgesia)
  • Spinal injections – these contain an anaesthetic and steroid and may be diagnostic or therapeutic 
  • Surgery – there are number of spinal operations that can be carried out, the most common are described below. 

Minimally invasive spinal surgery is carried out for a number of spinal conditions. With smaller cuts required, pain and bleeding are reduced, recovery is faster, and scarring is kept to a minimum.  

A discectomy is normally carried out when a slipped disc is compressing a nerve. A small part of the disc is surgically removed in order to resolve the problem. This operation is done under general anaesthetic with open surgery.  

Alternatively, a slipped disc may be treated with a percutaneous discectomy. Carried out under sedation, a large needle is inserted into the disc using X-ray guidance and a laser then used to destroy the affected area. As no incisions are made, there is no scarring. 

If your spinal canal has narrowed (this is known as spinal stenosis), a vertebral laminectomy / spinal decompression may be carried out if nerves have become compressed in the spine. This may involve a discectomy, a laminectomy, a spinal fusion, or often a combination of all three.  

Vertebroplasty involves injecting a special cement into a fractured vertebra. This is often used to treat pain caused by osteoporotic fractures in the spine. 

Spinal fusion can help relieve severe back pain where other treatments have not been effective. It may be carried out for the lumbar spine (lower back) or cervical spine (neck). The vertebrae have screws placed into them and are then fixed together with rods and bone grafts placed around the joints (these bone grafts fuse to the vertebrae over time, restricting movement in the spine). Although benefits are often felt within a few weeks, the bone grafts will take 6 – 12 months to fully fuse.  

When you meet with your Consultant, they will take a medical history and ask you to tell them about your symptoms. They will want to know: 

  • When did you symptoms first start? 
  • Are your symptoms constant or intermittent? 
  • Are you in pain? If so, what type of pain is it? 
  • Have you received treatment already, like prescribed medication? 
  • Have you had any previous spinal surgery? 
  • Are your symptoms stopping you doing certain activities?  

They will carry out a physical examination to determine the health, strength and mobility of your spine.  

Nearly everybody who comes for a spinal assessment will need an MRI scan, which can highlight problems such as inflammation, disc bulges and vertebral problems. 

Some conditions may benefit from other investigations like ultrasound, CT or nerve conduction studies. Some of these will need to be arranged outside the hospital if they are required.  

Once a diagnosis has been made, your Consultant will meet with you again to discuss treatment options. If you have any questions or concerns, they will be very happy to talk through them with you.  

It may be that treatment is an injection (of a steroid and local anaesthetic), either at the painful area itself or at the point the nerve leaves the spinal cord (this is known as the nerve root). This injection may be able to be given by your consultant during your appointment. Other times, X-ray guidance may be required, in which case the injection will be arranged for you at the earliest possible time.  

Many of the people we help are local to Northwood and the surrounding areas of Middlesex. 

When you visit BMI Bishops Wood Hospital for help with your spinal condition, you will benefit from: 

  • Rapid access to an expert – Many spinal conditions are best assessed and treated at the earliest possible stage. We can arrange an appointment for you with an experienced spinal surgeon consultant quickly and easily, giving you earlier access to suitable treatment. 
  • Personalised care – You will always see the same consultant, and they will oversee every aspect of your care, from first consultation through to post-treatment follow-up.  
  • A multidisciplinary approach – Spinal treatments require a big team. Your consultant is helped in their work by a number of other specialists, including physiotherapists, radiologists, pain consultants, anaesthetists, oncologists, neurologists and nurses. With quick, easy access to any member of this multidisciplinary team, you will always be well supported and cared for.  
  • Convenient Appointments – It is easy to book an appointment for a time that is convenient to you. For your convenience, we also offer remote consultations by telephone or video call if required (and where clinically appropriate). 
  • On-site parking – Bishops Wood Hospital is located in the grounds of Mount Vernon Hospital and very easy to get to. Our on-site car park is free for patients and visitors (be sure to register your car details with us at Reception when you first arrive to validate your free parking).  

For peace of mind and expert care for spinal problems, please contact us to book your private appointment at BMI Bishops Wood Hospital today. 

Specialists Offering Spinal surgery

Mr Babur Mahmood

Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon

BM, MSc, MRCS (Ed), FRCS Ed (Tr & Orth)

BMI The Chiltern Hospital 3 more BMI The Shelburne Hospital BMI Bishops Wood Hospital BMI The Saxon Clinic

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