Most people with spine problems do not require surgery. Individuals who fail conservative methods, or continue to have nerve compression pain or a neurological deficit (i.e. weakness in muscle, loss of reflex) and have ongoing disability may be candidates for surgery.
As deep bruising within the spinal wound may be a serious problem after surgery, it is of the greatest importance that any medications which thin the blood (e.g. Astrix, Cartia, Ecotrin, Aspirin, Persantin, Asasantin and Plavix) be stopped for at least two weeks prior to surgery. Warfarin is also noteworthy. If you take any of the above medications please inform Assoc. Professor Richard Williams’ team well in advance of surgery.
Anterior cervical discectomy is an operation performed on the upper spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots, or on the spinal cord. The procedure is explained by the words anterior (front), cervical (neck), and discectomy (cutting out the disc).
This procedure is generally performed to treat ruptured discs in the lower back that are causing leg pain. The goal of the procedure is to decompress the nerve and thus eliminate the leg pain. Many different procedures (laser discectomy, endoscopic discectomy, and percutaneous discectomy) have also been developed over the years, but the minimally invasive discectomy has been shown to have the best results with few complications.
An operation performed on patients with spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the canal through which the spinal nerves pass. This operation is a removal of the “roof” of the spinal canal to allow more space for the underlying spinal nerves. Part or all of the back surface (lamina) of a back bone is removed (-ectomy) to enlarge the opening through which the spinal cord and spinal nerve run. This permits removal of any protruding disc material or bony spurs and the spinal nerves at the affected level of the back are dissected free of compression individually.
An operation performed to prevent or limit abnormal motion in the spine by fusing two or more vertebrae. A spinal fusion may be performed as treatment for lower back pain due to “wear and tear” or for numerous other reasons including infection, tumours or broken bones as well as in deformity of the spine such as in scoliosis. The actual fusion (joining together) is done by surgically applying bone graft and/or spinal instrumentation to the level to be fused. A decompressive procedure, such as a laminectomy, may also be performed if required.