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Spine Surgery: Knowing The Backbone

Spine Surgery

What Does Spine Surgery Mean?

The branch of surgery which deals exclusively with the correction of spinal cord impairments is known as spinal surgery. Going into the anatomy of the spine, it is composed of 31 bones, each known as a vertebra, as follows:

  1. 8 cervical (neck)
  2. 12 thoracic (chest)
  3. 5 lumbar (lower back)
  4. 5 sacral (pelvis)
  5. 1 coccygeal (tail bone)

These vertebrae have foramina which are openings through which spinal blood vessels and nerves pass. Spinal cord injuries, nerve compressions, wearing out of nerves are some disorders which may lead to loss of body balance, muscle tone, pressure and pain. Interspersed between the two vertebrae are fibrous discs which provide a cushioning effect to the vertebrae above and below them.

MedcureIndia gives a brief idea on the subject to its readers in the following lines.

Causes of Spine Diseases/Disorders:

  • Spinal cord injuries may develop outside it or within the cord. Those developing outside the cord are:
  • Spinal injuries:  These occur due to road traffic accidents, sports injuries, crashes, faults, assaults. It may target any part of the spinal cord from the cervical to the coccygeal causing fractures, dislocations, subluxations of the vertebrae along with ligament tears.
  • Compression of spinal cord:  The spinal cord may be compressed by an adjacent bone or bone growth, blood accumulation known as hematomas, pus formation called as abscess, tumors or a ruptured or herniated disk. Ranging from mild to severe forms, symptoms such back pain, abnormal sensations, muscle weakness, or impaired bladder and bowel control, are noted.

Those developing within the spinal cord are:

  • Fluid-filled cavities as in cases of syrinxes
  • Blockage of the blood and oxygen supply ie hypoxia
  • Inflammation such as in cases of acute transverse myelitis
  • Tumors, whether benign or malignant
  • Internal bleeding (hemorrhage)
  • Vitamin B12 or copper deficiency
  • Infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Wasting disease of the nerves called multiple sclerosis
  • Bacterial infections such as syphilis and tuberculosis
  • Scoliosis may occur secondary to ataxia and cerebral palsy

Signs & Symptoms Of Spine Disorders:

  • Extreme back pain and a sense of pressure
  • Same follows for the head, neck or back of chest.
  • Weakness and overall lethargy
  • Inability to coordinate movements between limbs, paralysis in any part of body.
  • Ataxia, jerky movements of limbs
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in hands, fingers, feet or toes.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Sexual dysfunction, loss of libido

Diagnostic Tests for Spine Surgery:

  • Cerebrospinal fluid analysis: The CSF is extracted from the spinal cord by means of a lumbar puncture and the contents are studied for any particular pathology in the laboratory.
  • Electroencephalogram EEG: This is done routinely to evaluate the electrical activity and the chemical functioning of the brain and the spinal cord both.
  • Radiological examination: A computed tomography CT is done to study the path of curvature of the cord, any fractures and dislocations of the disc and vertebrae and other hard tissue abnormalities. A magnetic resonance imaging MRI on the other hand will help in the evaluation of abscess, cysts, benign and malignant tumors in terms of their location, size and number. It also defines the complete path of the blood vessels and nerves, giving idea of which part of the vessel/nerve is being compressed.
  • Lumbar and cervical discography:  This procedure is done to study the tears and twists in inter vertebral discs. A needle containing a dye is injected into disc at each level of the spinal cord and an x-ray is taken to study the path of the dye within the disc. If the disc is impact, the dye remains in the centre. In cases of twisting/tearing/compression/dislocation of the disc, the fluid containing the dye spreads through the discontinuations in the disc giving the clear anatomy of the pathological site.

Types of Spine Surgeries:

Takes place, and if it does, a second surgical approach is needed to fix it.

  • Laminectomy: It is the choice of surgical approach for lumbar spinal stenosis. In this procedure, parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments in the back causing pressure on spinal nerves are removed. This leads to a symptomatic relief from pain and pressure along the course of the spinal cord.
  • Foraminotomy:  It is used to relieve pain associated with a compressed nerve in the spine. The part of vertebrae surrounding the opening/foramina from where the nerve enters /exits is cut surgically. As a result, the extra space obtained helps in the reduction of pain.
  • Diskectomy: In this procedure, the disk is removed partly or completely through microdiscectomy. This is performed with an operating microscope through a smaller incision and has become the standard surgical procedure for pathologies like lumbar disc herniation.

Complications & Risk Factors Associated With Spine Surgery:

  • Increasing patient age and surgical wound problems independently increased the risk of death.
  • Congestive heart failure and/or a history of heart attack may often lead to spine surgery failure
  • Preoperative neurological problems increase the chances of postoperative unstability
  • A history of spinal wound infection will always hamper the healing postoperatively
  • A history of sepsis would serve the same purpose
  • Loss of bowel/bladder movements, stammering of speech, blurred vision may be encountered post surgery for a brief period.

Success Rate Of In India:

The death rate following a spinal surgery is .03 percent, while 7.6 percent  may experience some  complications within 30 days after surgery.

Why Medcureindia?

Team MedcureIndia deals with medical tourism all over the world dealing with the pathologies from head to toe. We assure our highly esteemed clients how valuable their lives are for us. And keeping the same in mind, we direct our clients to the best affordable spine surgeons with a promise of complete recovery.