BMI Woodlands HospitalMorton Park, Darlington, County Durham, DL1 4PL Directions
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Advanced surgical procedures for your spinal concerns
Possible symptoms of a spinal condition include:
These symptoms tend to affect those of working age, commonly in the 35-65 age bracket. This can be due to lifting something awkwardly, or perhaps incurring a sports injury. You may not realise it at the time, but after a few days the severe pain sets in. An accurate diagnosis is clearly necessary to get you on the right path towards recovery.
Very often, the injury or condition is nothing serious, and our consultants can provide reassurance, drafting in our dedicated physiotherapy team to help in your rehabilitation.
If the pain is severe, or you’ve tried alternative measures and they haven’t been effective in reducing your pain, why not call us at Woodlands to book an appointment with a specialist orthopaedic consultant? Some patients are referred through their GP, but increasingly our patients are self-referring, allowing you to take control of your own healthcare needs.
We can book you in promptly, as well as getting any previous MRI scans transferred across, gathering your information in one place for added convenience and efficiency in your initial consultation.
A discectomy is normally performed for a slipped disc which impinges on a nerve, and involves removing a small portion of the disc. Traditionally this is done under general anaesthetic in open surgery, with an incision usually a couple of centimetres long. This is a reliable form of surgery, but patients often need up to 6 weeks off work for recovery.
Alternatively, a percutaneous discectomy can be offered under sedation as a day case, enabling you to go home on the same day. This specialist surgery involves inserting a large needle into the disc under x-ray guidance, and through the disc your surgeon can vaporise the affected area with a laser. With no incision, there is nothing to heal, meaning patients can normally return to work after a few days.
This surgery is not widely offered elsewhere in the North East, making Woodlands the ideal choice for minimal-access spinal surgery.
Spinal Fusion is for patients with a lot of back pain, who have been unresponsive to other measures. If a very worn or arthritic disc is uncovered during an MRI or x-ray, a spinal fusion may help by stopping any movement of the painful segment. This is achieved under general anaesthetic by placing titanium screws into the vertebrae, linking them together with rods and bone graft around the joints of the spine, which fuse together over time. Although it normally takes from 6 months to 2 years to fully fuse, many patients feel the benefits within a few weeks.
At Woodlands, we have the benefit of minimal-access spinal fusion techniques, with smaller incisions in the back, allowing for a quicker recovery, with patients often able to carry out physically-demanding work within 6-12 weeks.
A physical examination will then be conducted carefully and thoroughly. This can be to assess the health of your spine and check for any nerve root dysfunction, or signs of pain coming from somewhere else.
For example, you may present with back pain, but upon investigation it may be revealed that the source of pain is in your sacroiliac joint (which attach the base of the spine to the pelvis), and treatment can be tailored accordingly.
An MRI is normally required to confirm a diagnosis, and this can be done at our on-site imaging unit. These scans help to highlight inflammation as well as issues like disc bulges and vertebrae problems.
With an accurate diagnosis confirmed, your Consultant can present you with all your available treatment options, depending on your specific condition and the expected outcomes.
Treatment for many conditions can be administered within this initial consultation, such as steroid injections or local anaesthetics. These injections may be into the source of pain (such as directly into the sacroiliac joint) or around the nerve root (known as a foraminal epidural injection, with a 0.7mm in diameter needle, far removed from the kind normally associated with epidurals).
You can also opt to have these injections performed under x-ray guidance for added accuracy, available as a day case procedure. In 70% of cases, these injections can make your condition permanently better, with 90% of patients reporting improvements for conditions such as sacroiliac joint pain. This means a vast majority of patients need no further treatment, save for some repeat injections if appropriate.
If injections and other measures such as physiotherapy have been ineffective, surgery is sometimes necessary to bring you relief.
Our Woodlands spinal team are experts in minimal-access surgery, ensuring an efficient process and faster recovery times, getting you back to good health with reduced symptoms as soon as possible.
If you have a pre-existing back condition, or if your back and neck have been causing you problems, why not book a consultation with one of our orthopaedic specialists today?
Our consultants can outline all treatment options for you promptly, arranging any necessary diagnostic scans, treatment and surgery if required. For peace of mind and expert care, please contact Woodlands to book an appointment now.
Pay for yourself with our fixed price packages. This includes your pre-assessment, treatment, follow-ups and 6 months' aftercare
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Pay for yourself with monthly repayments spread over 12 months, interest-free (terms and conditions apply)