Minimally-invasive spinal stabilization techniques are used whenever possible in conjunction with innovative biomaterials to secure vertebrae. Biomaterials, include radiolucent plastics that can not be seen on X-ray or bioresorbable implants that dissolve over time, along with standard titanium offer long-term success and improved patient outcomes.
Spinal fusion uses bone grafts and internal devices, such as rods and screws, to join the vertebrae together. Autogenous bone, tissue harvested from the patient, or allograft bone, tissue harvested from a donor, is used as bone graft material used to promote fusion. The small pieces of bone are placed between vertebrae, selected for fusion, using minimally-invasive or microspinal surgical techniques. The body heals over the bone grafts, similar to the healing of a broken bone, causing the two vertebrae to grow together and form one long bone. A synthetic material, bone morphogenic proteins, is available, however used in a limited number of spine fusion procedures. Although, spinal fusion may reduce flexibility, quality of life is greatly improved with the reduction of back pain.
Lumbar Disc Replacement
Lumbar disc replacement is an effective option for some types of low back pain. The most common low back pain condition where disc replacement has proven successful is degenerative disc disease. As we age the discs between each vertebra tend to wear away or break down and back pain can become unmanageable. Using a prosthetic or artificial disc replacement, made of pliable plastics and metal to mimic the natural lumbar disc, the deteriorated disc is removed and replaced.
Microdiscectomy is a spinal surgical procedure performed to remove the part of the disc that impinges on the spinal nerve(s). The desired outcome of this surgery is to relieve symptoms such as leg and/or back pain, weakness, and numbness in your legs and feet. This procedure requires a small incision of 1–2 inches on the back and is performed using a microscope and microsurgical techniques.
Microdiscectomy is particularly effective in relieving leg pain associated with lumbar disc herniation (rupture, tear). Discs are the shock-absorbing cushions between the vertebrae (back bones) of your spinal column and may herniate due to several reasons, including trauma, stress and strain, and aging.
A microdiscectomy may be performed in different regions of the spine, cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), and lumbar (low back).
Laminectomy (spine decompression) is a surgical procedure performed to remove pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root(s). The term laminectomy comes from the Latin words lamina (bony roof of the spinal canal) and ectomy (removal). Removing the lamina widens the space of the spinal cord or nerve root(s) and therefore relieves symptoms related to compression and irritation of the spinal cord or nerve root(s). These symptoms may include pain and/or numbness, tingling, burning, and weakness.
Sources of spinal cord or nerve root(s) compression such as herniated disc, bone spurs (arthritis), ligament build-up, or tumor may be removed during this procedure. A laminectomy may be performed in different regions of the spine, cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back), and lumbar (low back).
Some spinal tumors can be eliminated using external-beam radiosurgery. This noninvasive technique treats tumors (lesions) by delivering precise finely collimated beams of radiation to the lesion in a single treatment session. This treatment modality can be an alternative to, or used in conjunction with surgery.
Prior to radiosurgery a 3-D visualization of the spine lesion is captured using MRI and CT technology to define the treatment area. Together, the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist use computer technology to arrange precise high-energy radiation beams to the defined treatment area. A micro-multileaf collimator (MMLC) attached to a linear accelerator shapes the beams to conform to the exact shape and size of the targeted spine lesion ensuring delivery of precise dose distribution to the target, while sparing critical normal tissues and structures. An optimal plan is created for each individual.