Neurosurgery Spine Clinic for Back Pain in Frisco TX
Back pain can keep you up all night, cause you to miss work, and affect so many other aspects of your life. What are you supposed to do if medications do not help relieve the pain?
Your doctor might suggest back surgery. If this is the case, try not to worry. Treatments for spinal pain these days are not as invasive as older procedures that typically required patients to stay in bed for weeks while recovering.
Disc and joint problems can be corrected by surgeons using special tools and tiny incisions that can heal quickly. Instead of steel rods and screws that can potentially cause infection, surgeons can use advanced implants that mimic bone.
With innovations like minimally invasive surgical techniques, it is easier than ever to find where the problem is and complete procedures. This means less damage to nerve endings and muscles. With less invasive procedures there’s less pain, scar tissue, blood loss, lower risk of infection, and you can walk sooner after the procedure.
More traditional back pain treatments should be tried before researching any surgeries. Some things to try before surgery would be appropriate exercise, getting proper rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or steroid injections. If none of those work, minimally invasive surgery would be the next thing to try.
Minimally invasive surgeries are less aggressive than traditional surgeries. Some common procedures are:
A surgeon will remove the damaged section of herniated discs in the spine to improve mobility, weakness, and pain.
A surgeon will remove all or part of the vertebral bone to help ease pressure on nerve roots or the spinal cord.
- Spinal fusion
A surgeon will permanently fuse two or more vertebrae in the spine to reduce pain, improve stability, or correct a deformity.
Doctors use the same fundamental techniques when repairing back problems with minimally invasive approaches. However, procedures are aided by advanced, high-tech tools. This allows procedures to be done from better angles, incisions are smaller, and the work is more accurate and precise.
Typically with minimally invasive surgeries involving the spine, the surgeon will make a small incision, insert an instrument called a tubular retractor (which is used to hold or move tissue), and guide it along your spinal column. Real-time video is taken with image guidance tools such as small microscopes or CT scanners and then projected onto a screen in the operating room. These devices help doctors see the tissues and bones up close.
Some surgeries can also be carried out through the patient’s side or front, which can offer better access to the tissue.
One example of when this approach is appropriate is an anterior column release, which is used to fix severe kyphosis. Kyphosis is a condition where the spine has an excessive curvature that causes an unusual rounding of the upper back, something very common in the elderly. Performing the surgery through the front makes it easier to avoid spinal nerves, decreases disruption to the muscles in the back, and is generally less painful.
Unstable back joints and curved spines can be corrected with minimally invasive procedures, and implants are used to keep the corrections in the right position. It’s important to note that if a person bends forward or backward, and the joints in their back stay in place, fusion surgery might not help their pain.
Over the years, the material and quality of screws, rods, and cages have improved significantly. Implants made from materials similar to bone are being worked on now. Using bone-like materials for implants instead of metal can encourage bone formation. Two examples of this type of material are hydroxyapatite, which is made from sea coral, and biologically modified polyether ether ketone (PEEK).
Current implants are made of titanium, instead of stainless steel, because it is less likely to cause infections.
If nerve damage is the cause of your back pain, a different type of implant may help you find relief. A spinal cord stimulator is placed below the skin of your belly or buttocks and sends out electric pulses to help distract you from your pain. It is possible to try this type of implant to see if it helps you before you opt for a long-term, permanent implant. A spinal cord stimulator tends to be more effective for leg pain (sciatica) than it is for back pain. Stimulators use numbness to hide the pain. Because of this, you may feel a numbing, tingling, or tickling sensation instead of your usual pain.
If you’re looking for a neurosurgeon or spine clinic in Frisco, TX, contact Dr. Kutz at MINT to discuss if any of these minimally invasive procedures are right for you.