What type of back surgery should you have?
If you suffer from chronic neck or back pain, you’re not alone. More than 80 percent of Americans already have, or will suffer from, neck or back pain. Many live in pain for nine years before seeking a surgical solution. Back injuries can occur at any time for almost any reason – or, for seemingly no reason.
We know that the thought of surgery, especially back surgery, is scary. That’s why Laser Spine Institute has taken the time to answer some of your questions about back surgery:
How do I know if I need surgery?
Most people who need back surgery have dealt with chronic neck or back pain for several years. Before committing to surgery of any kind, you should consult your physician. It’s also recommended that you get a second opinion. Your physician may recommend neck or back surgery if:
- Conservative, nonsurgical treatments have been unsuccessful in relieving your pain
- The pain is unbearable
- Your quality of life is significantly impaired
What’s the difference between traditional and minimally invasive spine surgery?
If you’re considering back surgery, you’re probably wondering if you should go the traditional route or choose the minimally invasive option. What you’re really pondering is whether it really even matters. According to Laser Spine Institute Chairman, Department of Surgery, and Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Michael C. Weiss, D.O., FAOAO, there are at least five reasons to consider minimally invasive spine surgery:
- Less scar tissue. Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive procedures do not cut muscle like traditional, open-back surgery. We use a muscle-sparing technique that spreads the muscles apart — much like pushing a nail through a rope.
- Less blood loss. Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive procedures require a small, 1-inch incision so there is less blood loss. Traditional, open-back surgery requires a large incision that is generally associated with a larger amount of blood loss.
- Less pain. Because of the small incision and muscle-sparing technique that Laser Spine Institute uses, our patients typically experience less pain after their surgery than those who have traditional, open-back surgery.
- Less pain pills and medications. Oftentimes, because there is less pain associated with the surgical procedure, less pain pills and prescription medications are needed after surgery.
- Quicker return to activities. Many patients who have minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute find that they are able to return to their everyday activities quicker than those who have traditional, open-back surgery. Many patients are able to return to work within two weeks, depending on what type of job they have.
How do I know what’s best for me?
There are many differences between traditional, open-back surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery. The best thing you can do is to educate yourself on the different procedures.
Not everyone is a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery, and some back conditions require a traditional approach. To learn if you’re a candidate for Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive procedures, submit your MRI for a complimentary initial review.