What to Know When Considering Spine Surgery

If conservative treatment has not eased your back pain or improved your mobility, it is time to consider spine surgery. Prior to surgery, you will undergo a series of tests and the exact cause of your back pain is pinpointed. From there, an individual surgical plan by a skilled Tampa surgeon is put in place.

Before making a final decision regarding spine surgery, you need to know the facts about procedures, post-op recovery, and recuperation.

Traditional vs. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Traditional spine surgery usually involves a large incision and pulling muscles aside to view the spine clearly. In minimally invasive surgery, special instruments allow smaller incisions and the use of tubular retractors to create a tunnel toward the specific area.

Instruments can pass through this tunnel and any diseased tissue is removable the same way. The surgeon views the spine via fluoroscopy, which shows the exact spinal image on a screen.

Recuperation from minimally invasive spine surgery takes much less time than traditional surgery. Because the incisions are so small, there is less risk of scarring, bleeding, and infection. However, not all conditions are suitable for minimally invasive treatment, and any type of surgery carries some risks. The surgeon discusses all options with patients and ensures they understand the entire process to make an informed decision. Individuals should feel free to ask questions and make sure they are answered to their satisfaction.

Recovering from Spine Surgery

A patient undergoing traditional spine surgery can expect to spend several days in the hospital. A patient undergoing a minimally invasive procedure may only stay overnight, and some operations are done on an outpatient basis. Recovery depends on various factors, including the age and physical condition of the patient and the spine surgery involved. The doctor will prescribe appropriate pain medication.

The patient may have to take additional prescription or over-the-counter drugs for a short time to deal with common pain medication side effects, such as constipation. Patients may require the temporary use of back braces, canes or walkers. Make any necessary changes in the home before the surgery, such as installing toilet risers or shower chairs for the patient’s use.

Complete recovery may take up to a year in some cases, although most patients can go back to work and resume most normal activities within one to two months. Spine surgery recuperation includes physical therapy and an exercise regimen custom-tailored for each patient.

Contact Tampa Bay Spine Surgeons Today

If you are considering spine surgery and want to discuss your options, call a Tampa Bay surgeon today and arrange an appointment for a consultation.