Lumbar Spine Surgery in Plano: Minimally Invasive Techniques and Outcomes
A number of minimally invasive neurosurgery techniques are used in Lumbar Spine Surgery in Plano TX. These techniques are generally safer and faster compared to traditional spine surgery techniques.
Minimally invasive techniques also produce a higher lumbar spine surgery success rate because there is minimal trauma to the body. It results in less bleeding, lower infection risks, and shorter recovery periods.
Aside from that, the success of these neurosurgical procedures is also associated with the quality of care given to the patients. In the pre- and post-operative phases, a set of medical procedures are administered to help patients prepare for and recover from spine surgery.
Pre-Operative Care for Lumbar Spine Surgery
The pre-operative phase generally involves a series of medical evaluation and planning. It is when the neurosurgeon collaborates with the patient and other medical care providers (primary care doctor, medical specialists, and anesthesiologist) about the surgical process.
A proper medical evaluation consists of various diagnostic tests that will help determine the patient’s readiness for surgery. These tests usually include:
- Blood tests
An array of blood tests is required before surgery. Examining blood samples from the patient can tell many things about their overall health status and whether or not they are fit to be operated on.
- Urine and stool tests
Urine and stool analyses are also standard operating procedures in virtually all hospitals and major clinics. Both the urine and stool contain substances that provide information on the status of the patient’s organic and metabolic functions.
- Pregnancy test
Pregnant women are not suited to be operated on because most invasive procedures, no matter how minimally invasive, can cause negative effects on the woman and the baby. That’s why all women of child-bearing age are tested for pregnancy before surgery.
- Cardiovascular and pulmonary diagnostics
The patient’s cardiovascular and pulmonary functions should be thoroughly assessed and evaluated before surgery. Those who are found with any heart or lung problems may be subjected to other special procedures and treatment before they can be operated on.
- Radiographs and body scans
Another prerequisite prior to spine surgery is an x-ray or scan of the patient’s spinal area. The reason for this is to see and locate exactly the spine problem.
Other common tests include the examination of the patient’s electrolyte levels and medications. Electrolyte imbalances and the presence of certain medical drugs in the patient’s bloodstream may affect the surgery outcomes. In such cases, the patient may be subjected to procedures that would correct the problem prior to surgery.
Also, prior to surgery, the patient needs to be well-prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. They need to be educated about the surgical procedure and be taught what to do and avoid beforehand.
That is why a list of instructions and reminders are always in order for the patient to follow or take. Before surgery, patients are usually advised the following:
- Avoid certain drugs that may affect the surgery’s outcomes. Even medications that are taken regularly may be withheld a day or two before the surgery.
- Adjust or modify dietary intake as prescribed by doctors. The patient may be advised to stop or start eating certain foods to improve their physical health and readiness for surgery.
- Make arrangements for transportation and assistance in getting to and coming home from the hospital or clinic. This is because the patient will not be allowed to drive for some time after spine surgery.
- Make meal arrangements for before and after the surgery. Patients who live alone are usually advised to buy their groceries ahead of time so they won’t need to go out of the house after surgery.
- Adjust or modify furniture arrangement at home. This is to accommodate the expected post-operative inconveniences to the patient’s mobility.
- Make arrangements for home care if no family member can assist the patient at home after surgery. Some patients may be restricted to move around after surgery, so they’ll need someone to assist them in everything.
Other Post-Operative Requirements
Before the surgery, the patient is also required to do the following:
- Accomplish consent forms.
- Stop smoking or using tobacco products.
- Avoid physical activities that may affect physical vitality before surgery.
- Secure admission to the hospital or clinic for the scheduled operation.
- Arrange for medical leave from work as necessary.
Post-Operative Care for Lumbar Spine Surgery
After spine surgery, Dallas and Plano neurosurgeons are required to monitor their patients carefully and thoroughly. Patients who are admitted to stay in the hospital after the operation are easier to watch and reach anytime.
However, most patients are allowed to go home after minimally invasive neurosurgery. That is why they advise ambulatory patients to follow post-operative instructions strictly to avoid complications.
The post-operative care for lumbar spine surgery patients typically focuses on avoiding complications and relieving post-operative pain or discomfort.
Those who underwent laparoscopic surgery (lumbar spine), for example, will only have a small surgical incision. This produces minimal pain, so the patient may not need strong painkillers to manage post-operative pain. Some patients may not even need pain medications if they can tolerate it well.
Those who undergo a more complex operation like spine surgery for herniated disc in lumbar spine, where the whole disc is removed, may feel more pain and discomfort. Aside from taking pain medications, they may also be restricted from moving around the affected part.
Sometimes, complications after spine surgery may arise unexpectedly. Some of the most common complications of minimally invasive neurosurgery are:
- Nerve damage
- Spinal fluid leaks
- Blood clot formation
- Excessive bleeding
Other than these, complications may also stem from the anesthetic that was used during spine surgery. Nerve damage may also cause the patient to feel either severe pain or numbness.
Common complications are treated as usual. Infections, for example, are treated with antibiotics and severe pain is managed with pain medications.
There are times when spine surgery will also need to be redone in cases of severe complications. Sometimes (although rarely), debilitating and irreversible nerve damage may occur.
After spine surgery, the patient is commonly instructed to:
- Exercise only by walking.
- Care for the incision wound as prescribed.
- Not drive at all for at least two weeks.
- Avoid movements and positions that are painful.
- Avoid twisting or bending from the waist.
- Avoid carrying heavy things.
- Take post-operative medications as prescribed.
- Come back for their post-operative follow-up appointments.
Patients are also usually advised to stop smoking after surgery, or at least not smoke for several days. Doctors may also initiate or recommend a smoking cessation program if necessary.
If you are interested in learning more about minimally invasive spine surgery in Plano TX, visit the Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery of Texas (MINT) website at minimallyinvasiveneurosurgerytexas.com.
Dr. Kutz of the MINT center specializes in Lumbar Spine Surgery in Plano and you can book an appointment by calling (972) 244-3491.