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Traditional spinal fusions are used to treat instability of the spine, scoliosis, severe degeneration of the discs, or a combination of these issues. A fusion involves using bone from the patient’s body to fuse one vertebrae to another. Spinal instrumentation (pedicle screws) are placed into the vertebrae to stabilize the motion segment and assist with the fusion process. Some of the most common minimally invasive spine procedures we perform are the Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF) and Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (MIS TLIF) and percutaneous instrumentation.
Most pain in the lower back can be treated without surgery. In fact, surgery often does not relieve the pain; research suggests that 20 to 40 percent of back surgeries are not successful. This lack of success is so common that there is a medical term for it: failed back surgery syndrome. Nonetheless, there are times when back surgery is a viable or necessary option to treat serious musculoskeletal injuries or nerve compression. A pain management specialist can help you decide whether surgery is an appropriate choice after making sure you have exhausted all other options.
Whether minimally invasive or traditional, the goals are the same for the long-term; we want to accomplish overall improvement in symptoms or a halt in degeneration. Ultimately, we want our procedures to result in less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, lower infection rates and faster recovery in the weeks following surgery. Minimally invasive surgery typically results in an easier recovery process for patients, however, not every patient or surgical condition is appropriate for minimally invasive surgery. It is important that you partner with your spine surgeon to identify the best treatment option for your condition.
Anesthesiologists who specialize in pain management can work with you before and after surgery to develop a plan tailored to your condition, personal history, and preferences. They will consult with you after surgery to determine what is working and what is not, and they will adjust your pain management treatment based on the level of pain you are experiencing. Anesthesiologists work with your surgical team to evaluate, monitor, and supervise your care before, during, and after surgery—delivering anesthesia, leading the Anesthesia Care Team, and ensuring your optimal safety.
If you have a medical condition or injury that affects your nervous system, you may see a neurologist for evaluation and diagnosis. If your neurologist thinks your condition requires or may benefit from surgery, you’ll meet with a neurosurgeon for further medical advice and surgical treatment. What does a neurosurgeon do? A neurosurgeon assesses, diagnoses and treats conditions that affect your body’s nervous system, which includes your brain, spinal cord and spinal column, and all of your nerves that extend from your spinal cord.