It is important to know that many spinal conditions can be effectively managed without the need for surgery. Treatments include:
- Core muscle rehabilitation - to help mobilise the spine and strengthen the supporting structures in order to increase stability
- Pain relief medication (analgesia)
- Spinal injections – these contain an anaesthetic and steroid and may be diagnostic or therapeutic
- Surgery – there are a number of different operations, the most common are described below.
A discectomy is normally carried out when a slipped vertebral disc is compressing a nerve, and involves removing a small portion of the disc. This is done under general anaesthetic with open surgery. While it is a reliable form of surgery, you may need up to 6 weeks off work to recover.
Alternatively, a slipped disc can be treated with a percutaneous discectomy. Carried out under sedation as a day case, a large needle is inserted into the disc under X-ray guidance surgery and a laser used to vaporise the affected area.
A vertebral laminectomy / spinal decompression may be advised if your spinal canal has narrowed (this is known as lumbar spinal stenosis). This operation involves removing bone and ligament in order to open up the canal once more.
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 may be advised if you have severe back pain that has not been managed with other measures. Carried out under general anaesthetic, titanium screws are placed into the vertebrae and fixed together with rods and bone grafts around the joints of the spine. These fuse together over time. Many people feel the benefits of this surgery within a few weeks, although it will take 6 – 12 months to fully fuse the bones together.
If a serious pathology is found, such as a tumour or infection, you will be immediately placed on a treatment pathway for that condition.
The spinal surgeons at BMI The Park Hospital will ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment for your specific needs.