Atlanta Back Surgery Procedures
Atlanta back surgery specialists are plentiful in our city, which is great for residents because approximately 80% of us will suffer from back pain during our lives. The majority, however, will never require any sort of back surgery and the pain is treated through less invasive therapies.
For the small percentage of people that do need back surgery, it is common for them to fall into two camps: people who suffer from chronic lower back pain and those who suffer from degenerative disc disease and the pain that accompanies it.
Depending on your specific diagnosis, a treatment, or combination of treatments, will be prescribed, and because back pain varies among each patient, each course of therapy will vary, as well. However, there are some common back surgery procedures that are often the first resort.
If you suffer from a herniated disc, your doctor may recommend a laminectomy (or discectomy), a microdiscectomy or a laser back surgery procedure. The laminectomy and microdiscetomy are defined by the removal of the damaged disc – or portions of the disc – and the removal of the affected ligaments and tissue. Microscopic, laser surgery has become an option in recent years due to technological advancements, and this procedure is done using a laser that destroys affected tissue and reduces the size of the pain-causing disc.
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal becomes too narrow for the spinal cord and nerves running through it to function properly, and there are several back surgery options available to correct this condition.
A laminectomy may be required to remove bone spurs, affected tissue and ligaments as an initial step, but if the stenosis is being caused by vertebral slippage, it may be necessary to receive spinal fusion where a system of screws and rods are used to stabilize the vertebrae and reinforce the spinal canal. Bone grafts are used during spinal fusion, and while this does mean having a separate surgery at a separate site to harvest the bone, the surgery has a very high success rate. The healing, however, can be more prolonged.
Degenerative disc disease is relatively common because as our bodies age and our bones bear the burden of decades, it is natural for them to show some wear and tear. Spinal fusion and disc replacement are common back surgeries employed to treat degenerative disc disease, but there is a newer technology being, as well – intradiscal electrothermal therapy. While its effectiveness is not fully known and debated, IDT is performed by using a small wire that is inserted into the collagen around the disc. The wire is then heated in an effort to reinforce and strengthen the weakened collagen. This is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed on an outpatient basis.
If you’re suffering from back pain, know that there are countless causes ranging in severity and that treatment options are as diverse as the factors causing your pain. Back surgery, while valid, effective and sometimes necessary, is not typically the first course of treatment.
If you have further questions, please feel free to call us at 404-299-3338.