All you need to know about Spine Surgery
Every day, your back is put under a lot of pressure. Your spine is damaged by poor posture, overexertion, an unhealthy lifestyle, and accidents. This causes chronic back pain and discomfort that does not respond to medicine or physical treatment over time. Doctors recommend spine surgery to help you get relief from such constant discomfort and improve your quality of life.
Doctors suggest spine surgery once they have diagnosed the reason and location of the pain. Spine surgery, or lumbar surgery as it is called, helps correct the condition that causes constant pain and numbness in your back, arms and legs.
Let us understand why you need spine surgery, its risks, and how it benefits you in leading a productive life.
Why do you need Spine Surgery?
Although spine surgery is a complicated procedure, it helps restore the stability of your spine and provides relief from several back ailments.
Spine surgery is performed for:
- Treating fractures caused due to accidents.
- To provide relief from chronic back pain and numbness that radiates toward the arms and legs.
- To treat tissues and bones that may add pressure to the spinal cord and compress or pinch a nerve that runs along the spinal cord.
- To treat disc problems, such as herniated discs*.
- To treat infections, tumours, and spinal stenosis*.
- And to treat the overgrowth of bones caused due to osteoarthritis.
A herniated disc is a bulging or torn disc between the spinal vertebrae. It causes pain in the back, neck, and leg.
It occurs when the space within the backbone is small, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and the nerve that runs along the spine.
What is the procedure of Spine Surgery?
The spinal surgery procedure lasts a few hours and depends upon the different types of spine surgery.
Spinal surgery is done in two ways:
In this procedure, a lengthy incision or cut is made at the surgical site to expose the entire spine to the surgeon.
This procedure is also called endoscopic spine surgery. Here, a small incision is made at the surgical site. The surgeon uses an endoscope to view your spine. An endoscope is a long, thin tube with a lens at one end and a small camera with a light attached at the other. Surgeons use special equipment to conduct this minimally invasive procedure.
To begin with, the anesthesiologist will administer the anaesthesia and help you prepare for the surgery.
To ensure the safety of the spinal cord and the nerves during the surgery, a technique called Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP) is employed. This helps monitor the sensory tracts and assess the spinal cord and the nerves during and after the surgery.
It is a minimally invasive procedure to remove a herniated disc that pushes on the nerve roots in the lower back and causes pinched or compressed nerves. An incision is made at the affected area on your lower back. This surgery helps reduce the pressure on your nerve and relieves you of pain.
In this procedure, an incision is made at the affected area in the back. The muscles are then cut open to expose the lamina or the bone that forms the roof of the spine. A portion of this bone is removed to reduce the pressure off the nerves and relieve the strain and the pain.
What are the benefits of Spine Surgery?
Spine surgery helps you find relief from the chronic pain and discomfort in your back and legs. It helps improve your productivity and gain control over your life.
Other benefits of spine surgery are:
- Reduction in pain and numbness.
- Reduced dependence on pain medication.
- Lesser chances of future operations.
- Improved mobility that allows participation in your everyday activities.
- Improved physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being.
What are the risks of Spine Surgery?
The risks involved in spine surgery are:
- Bleeding at the site of the incision or cut.
- Infection at the site of the incision.
- Reaction to the anaesthetic used before the surgery.
- Blood clots in your legs.
- Heart attack.
- Herniated disc.
- Damage to the nerves or their roots may cause pain, weakness, paralysis, loss of bladder or bowel control, and sexual dysfunction.
Certain health conditions may increase the risks of spine surgery. Therefore, please have a detailed discussion about the surgery, its risks, and its consequences and then make a decision.
Spine Surgery: Before and After
Before the spine surgery:
You will be required to fast after midnight, before the day of the surgery. You will be given only clear liquids, such as water, black tea and black coffee, four hours before your surgery is scheduled.
Before your surgery, your nurse will request you to remove your clothing, including any metallic items from your body, such as rings, belts, clips, jewellery, contact lens, and dentures.
An hour before the surgery, you will be asked to empty your bladder. Then, on a stretcher, you will be brought to the operation room.
Your anesthesiologist will start an intravenous line of antibiotics to prevent infections.
After the spine surgery:
It will take a few hours for your anaesthetic to wear off. Your nurse will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, and respiration rate. They will look for movement in your legs and toes.
To help recover from the surgery, you will be put on rehab therapies like walking, stationary cycling, and swimming.
Activities to help you return to your daily activities, like climbing out of bed, ascending and descending the stairs, taking a shower, etc., are advised.
Cost of Spine Surgery
The spine surgery cost in India varies from hospital to hospital. Based on the complication and the procedure, the spine surgery cost in India is between Rs. 1,89,000 and Rs. 8,50,000.
Gleneagles Global Hospital at Lakdi-ka-pul, Hyderabad, is one of the best multispecialty hospitals in India helmed by some of the best spine specialists in Hyderabad. Please visit the hospital website for more information on spine surgery and book an appointment for advice from our expert specialists.
How long does it take to recover from spine surgery?
Open spine surgery takes longer to recover. It will take you 4 - 6 weeks to achieve your expected mobility. For those who have undergone minimally invasive spine surgery, you can return to daily activities within six weeks.
How long does the pain last after spine surgery?
The normal healing period after spine surgery is around 3 to 6 months. You may feel the pain for 3 - 4 months as inflammation reduces and the nerves begin their normal function.
What should be the diet after spine surgery?
A high-protein and high-calorie diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy will help in faster recovery and wound healing after your spine surgery.