Avoiding Spinal Fusion

Avoiding Spinal Fusion

Spine surgery is usually considered after all other options are explored and attempted by the patient. Pain relief may be achieved utilizing pain management specialists who perform injections or prescribe oral pain medications. Other pain modalities include traction, massage therapy, chiropractic manipulations for the lumbar spine, and acupuncture may also be explored. Physical therapy, yoga and pilates are also methods utilized to relieve pain and improve activities of daily living.

When seeing a patient for an initial consultation, Dr. Vasudevan discusses what treatments have been attempted and will explore other treatment options not utilized. If the conservative treatments do not provide significant symptomatic relief, Dr. Vasudevan will discuss possible surgical avenues for treatment. If surgical intervention is recommended, utilizing current techniques, patients experience shorter hospital stays, faster recovery times and less postoperative pain.

Minimally Invasive Decompression

Decompression refers to a surgical procedure performed to relieve pressure and alleviate pain caused by the impingement of bone and/or disc material on the spinal cord or nerves. Today, this can be done using minimally invasive spine surgery.

Why Do I Need This Procedure?

A spinal decompression is sometimes performed when an intervertebral disc ruptures or herniates in the spine and puts pressure on neural tissue, such as the spinal cord, nerves and/or nerve roots. This may cause pain and other symptoms in the neck, arms and legs, including numbness or muscle weakness. Other causes of neural impingement include spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or in some rare cases a spinal tumor.

Spinal surgeons perform a variety of procedures to achieve decompression. When determining the optimal surgical procedure, a surgeon will consider patient pathology (the structural and functional changes that led to the patient’s neurological dysfunction), the level or levels of the spine affected, the patient’s medical history and his or her surgical experience and training.