How to prepare for back surgery
Back pain can cause some of the greatest discomfort that people have to endure. It can often be relieved with therapy, exercise and proper footwear, but sometimes requires back surgery. Due to the nature of back surgery, it is important that you get as much information as possible before making your decision to have back surgery.
Types of Back Surgery
Lumbar Spinal Fusion
Lumbar spinal fusion takes place when two or more bones in the spine are permanently connected by using a bone graft. These bones are known as vertebrae. The bone graft makes these sections grow together into one long bone. It can add stability by making it impossible to move this area of the back. Back fusion surgery is useful for people who have pain from moving specific vertebrae in their backs. It can also be used to treat scoliosis or back fractures. It can help people who have a weak or unstable spine, or who have some sort of deformity of the back.
Lower Back Surgery
People with longstanding lower back pain, who have tried to treat the pain with medication and other therapies, sometimes consider lower back surgery. In many cases, the pain is caused by a disc that has become malformed or moved out of place. This can cause pain in the back, as well as pain radiating through the legs, and sometimes the arms.
If the lower back pain is being caused by a herniated disc, it means that the disc is putting pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves surrounding it and creating pain. The section of this disc that is causing the problem can be removed. This procedure is called a discectomy, and can be done in about an hour. A foraminotomy is another form of lower back surgery. The foramin is the bony hole where the nerve root leaves the spinal canal. Over time, pieces of disc and joints can press against the nerve, causing pain. During a foraminotomy, these bits are removed, relieving the pressure. Another form of lower back surgery, intradiscal electro thermal therapy (IDET), uses heat to treat pain resulting from a cracked or bulging disc. Other surgery for lower back pain can involve severing the nerves that send pain signals to the brain. Some of these surgeries can be done right in the doctors' office, and many take as little as an hour to complete.
Failed Back Surgery
Although many people put great hope in the results of their back surgery, failed back surgery can result in continued pain. There are many reasons for this. The surgeon may be unable to fix the problem. Also, an x-ray may show a problem, and the surgery may fix that problem, but the pain may be coming from another area. The surgery may temporarily take away the pain, but then the problem may recur.
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