Though it is certainly true that back pain is a common phenomenon estimated to impact 8 out of every 10 individuals at some point in time, most cases achieve resolution on their own, without significant medical intervention.
Of course, there are other situations in which discomfort, weakness, and loss of mobility are the result of conditions which can in fact benefit from medication, physical therapy or minimally invasive surgery. When chronic back pain is caused by compression of the spinal cord and adjacent nerves in the lumbar area, it is important for sufferers to explore all possible solutions.
A lumbar corpectomy procedure offers many patients an opportunity to achieve the relief that has long eluded them and return to a more active lifestyle.
Why Choose Thoracic Corpectomy
The best candidates for this particular procedure are those for whom conventional, non-surgical treatment methods such as physical therapy regimens, pain medications or injections have failed to yield lasting results.
The surgery is utilized to address spinal nerve compression focused on the lower back that is causing numbness, pain or weakness that radiates downward through the buttocks, hips, and legs. Common reasons underlying nerve compression of this type include spinal fractures, infection, tumors and degenerative conditions characterized by herniated discs.
The Procedure Itself
Following the creation of an abdominal incision, the first stage of the thoracic corpectomy procedure is marked by the removal of portions of problematic vertebra or discs in order to alleviate spinal nerve pressure. Once decompression is achieved, the surgeon will place either bone graft or synthetic material to the site of decompression, in between the remaining vertebra adjacent to it.
This serves to enhance spinal stability and restore previous disc height. It may also be necessary for the surgeon to use rods, plates or screws to facilitate correct and thorough healing. Finally, the soft tissue and muscle surrounding the area will be realigned and the surgical incision will be closed.
It should be noted that patients suffering from severe compression of the spinal nerves may also require a posterior spinal fusion using additional instrumentation.
Such procedure would likely be performed within a few days of the first one so that early healing can begin to occur. Because each case is different, an individualized assessment is essential in order to determine the best course of treatment for patients.
Healing and Recovery
Though it is true that patients undergoing thoracic corpectomy procedures are certain to need at least some amount of dedicated recovery time, the majority are able to walk the very same day of their operation. Recovery periods tend to incorporate physical therapy plans and other customized treatments designed to minimize downtime and help patients resume normal activity levels.
Following procedures of this type, it is common for patients to experience instant relief from debilitating back pain, though there are other symptoms of nerve compression for which additional time is needed for results to become apparent.
Real Solutions for Back Pain Sufferers
As is the case with all surgical interventions, thoracic corpectomy procedures do involve a certain degree of risk. Potential complications include blood clots, excessive blood loss, infection, anesthesia-related difficulties and nerve damage.
However, surgery of this type carries an impressive success rate and offers those suffering from unrelenting pain and mobility loss the opportunity to reclaim the active lifestyle they desire. To learn more about your surgical options, contact a surgeon in our office today.