Spine Surgery

When Is Spine Surgery Needed?

Spine Surgery

Spine surgery is an advanced medical procedure performed on your spinal column to rectify an ailment or deformity. Surgery may be required on any one part of the spine or on multiple locations, depending on your situation. The primary purpose of spine surgery is to alleviate pain and restore your mobility.

New Jersey’s top spine specialists at Premier Brain & Spine are leading experts in both open and minimally invasive surgeries with optimal outcomes. After reviewing the nature of your back pain, its acuity and your overall medical history, your spine specialist decides if spine surgery is the right option for you.

What Symptoms and Conditions Does Spine Surgery Address?

Common, unrelieved symptoms of pain, weakness and loss of feeling in your arms and legs may be an indication that spine surgery is necessary. Typically, your spinal physician first prescribes conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and oral medications. But if these methods haven’t alleviated your symptoms, your spine center specialist considers surgical options.

Some conditions don’t respond well to less invasive, at-home treatments. The spine conditions that often require some level of surgical intervention include:

How Are Spine Surgeries Performed?

Your board certified surgeon determines whether to perform a surgery as an open or minimally invasive procedure. Open surgery is the traditional method of doing spine surgery. During the procedure, the doctor follows certain steps, including:

  1. The surgeon makes an incision approximately five to six inches on your back.
  2. Muscles and soft tissue are lifted off the bones, giving your surgeon direct access to the problem area.
  3. Your specialist completes the necessary procedure.
  4. The incision is closed, and you’re moved into a recovery room.

The advantage of this method is that it allows direct visibility of your bones and soft tissues, so your surgeon possibly detects additional problems not found earlier. While open surgery is more invasive, it’s still an effective procedure to resolve spinal complications. In some cases, open surgery may be the only appropriate surgical option.

How Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Performed?

Spine Surgery

Your New Jersey spinal doctors prefer to use minimally invasive procedures whenever possible to reduce the risks and make your recovery much smoother and quicker. Minimally invasive procedures typically follow steps that include:

  1. Your doctor makes smaller incisions, approximately an inch long.
  2. A tubular retracting device is inserted through the small incision.
  3. Corrections made with the assistance of an endoscopic tool that has a tiny camera attached to it. Fluoroscopy guides your surgeon’s movements on a large screen in real time.
  4. Stitches usually consisting of surgical glue or staples easily the small incision closed./li>

The downside to the minimally invasive method is limited visibility, which doctors overcome by taking numerous diagnostic images prior to the surgery. Laser surgery is another form of minimally invasive spine surgery. It relies on targeted laser beams to remove damaged or diseased tissue. Laser surgery is ideal for procedures such as:

  • Removing tumors
  • Sealing blood vessels to prevent blood loss
  • Sealing lymph vessels to prevent swelling and reducing the spread of tumors

What Is Recovery from Spine Surgery Like?

Open surgery normally requires at least an overnight stay in a hospital. It’s common to experience pain after an open spine surgery because of the amount of manipulation your doctor did to the muscles and soft tissue. Your spine pain center surgical team monitors your recovery and manages your pain as you heal. Minimally invasive spine surgery typically takes place in an ambulatory surgery center on an outpatient basis. Recovery times vary from as little as six to eight weeks up to a year, depending on:

  • Your overall health prior to the surgery
  • The type of procedure performed
  • Your age

No matter what type of spine surgery you undergo, however, your recovery depends on how closely you follow your doctor’s instructions, such as:

  • Avoiding twisting, bending and lifting
  • Learning how to properly lift objects
  • Lifting no more than 10 pounds until your doctor advises otherwise
  • Staying active, primarily with everyday walking
  • Going to all physical therapy appointments
  • Maintaining an exercise routine as directed by your NJ spine center doctor and your physical therapist

What Type of Spine Surgery Can I Get at Premier Brain & Spine?