Lumbar discectomy services with Dr. Serge Obukhoff right now? A neurosurgeon is a specially trained medical doctor who diagnoses and treats conditions that affect your nervous system — your brain, spinal cord and nerves. Neurosurgeons perform surgery on your nervous system, but they can also provide nonsurgical treatments. They typically try all nonoperative treatment methods — like medications, steroid injections and physical therapies — before recommending surgery. Neurosurgeons can also diagnose and treat conditions that affect the structures that support your nervous system, including: Your skull. Spinal vertebrae. Spinal disks. Blood vessels. Protective membranes and soft tissues. Read more information at Dr. Serge Obukhoff.
LLIF is a fusion during which the surgeon makes a small incision on the person’s side, under their ribs to approach the spine from a lateral direction. This allows the surgeon to perform a spinal fusion without disrupting the muscles of the spine. The LLIF procedure may be accompanied by another procedure that is fairly common, percutaneous instrumentation of the spine. In this procedure, the surgeon places rods and screws between the muscle fibers, often using computer navigation or intraoperative X-ray as opposed to removing the muscles from the spine as is done with traditional spinal fusion surgery. When possible, we seek to utilize a minimally invasive approach, if it is an appropriate option.
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.
Many patients with spine problems can be treated non-surgically. Physical therapy, home exercises, medication and often times spinal injections are recommended prior to considering surgery. If the problem still isn’t resolved, then surgery becomes a good option. For instance, if a patient has significant neurogenic pain in the extremities and non-surgical management has not provided relief, surgical intervention is the best decision. For those with symptoms related to spinal cord or nerve root compression, such as significant weakness in an arm or leg or limb, we may recommend surgical intervention if non-surgical management was unsuccessful.
Some factors to consider: Many of your options will involve medications such as opioids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and local anesthetics. Sometimes more than one drug will be taken. This multimodal therapy can improve pain control while limiting opioid use. Opioids should be used with care to avoid addiction and manage side effects, some of which can be life-threatening. Alternative or complementary methods of pain relief that do not involve medicines should also be discussed.