The spine care team at the Gildenhorn Institute for Bone and Joint Health is comprised of radiologists, physical therapists, and pain management experts, led by our highly-regarded neurosurgeons and orthopedic spinal surgeons. Together, they provide comprehensive spine care for a variety of spinal diseases, including:
- spinal stenosis
- degenerative disc disease
- herniated discs
- tumors of the spine
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Our spinal surgeons are recognized experts and educators on the latest minimally invasive procedures to address various degenerative conditions of the spine. These procedures performed through incisions no bigger than a dime produce minimal scars, reduced blood loss, and results in less postoperative pain, with some minimally invasive procedures performed on an outpatient basis. These techniques are applied to a vast array of conditions ranging from spinal decompression for spinal stenosis to minimally invasive final fusion for collapsed and slipped vertebrae (spondylolisthesis) to correct scoliosis and have demonstrated to result in overall faster recovery patients.
An important principle of minimally invasive spinal surgery is that the soft tissues and muscles surrounding the spine are not cut but rather gently separated using special instruments permitting the surgeon to decompress the entire spinal canal by approaching one side. This allows the surgeon to preserve many of the spine's natural supportive structures and hopefully help preserve the spine's long-term stability, a benefit not available during traditional spinal surgery.
Scoliosis of the spine can occur in adolescence as well as in adults. The majority of adult patients who develop scoliosis do so as a byproduct of degeneration of the spinal discs and joints. This degeneration may lead to back pain, nerve compression with associated leg pain, and difficulty walking. When conservative measures, such as physical therapy with core strengthening, spinal injections and bracing fail, surgical correction of this condition can help patients return to a more active and less painful life.
Surgical treatment is reserved for a small subset of patients who have failed all reasonable conservative (non-operative) measures. They generally have disabling back and/or leg pain and spinal imbalance. Their functional activities are severely restricted, and their overall quality of life has reduced substantially.
These surgery goals are to restore spinal balance and reduce pain and discomfort by relieving the pressure of the nerves (decompression) and maintaining corrected alignment by fusing and stabilizing the spinal segments.
The complication rate can be significantly higher and the recovery slow. Therefore, surgery should only be undertaken as a last resort and only after the patient clearly understands the risks and benefits. Excellent functional outcomes can be obtained, which can be a positive life-changing experience for a given individual patient. Recent advances in surgical techniques include less invasive approaches by making smaller incisions and using biologic substances to accelerate the fusion process.
Symptoms of Spinal Conditions
Back pain, neck pain, and symptoms caused by a spinal condition are common problems for many adults. The different parts of the spine are normally well balanced and able to handle movements, stresses and strains of the body gracefully. However, when parts of the neck or back are injured or start to wear out, it can be a significant source of pain and discomfort.
When describing symptoms to your doctor, use adjectives like dull, aching, hot, or throbbing and make sure to include the duration of these symptoms. Some common symptoms: back, neck, arm, and leg pain.
If any of the following symptoms occur, contact a doctor immediately:
- Pain is worse when you cough or sneeze
- Pain or numbness travels down one or both legs
- Pain awakens you from sleep
- You are finding it difficult to pass urine or a bowel movement
- Pain is accompanied by loss of control of urination or bowel movements
These important symptoms could signal never damage or other serious medical problems. Other conditions could be causing these problems, but an early and accurate diagnosis is vital for successful treatment.