Technological advances are changing the way surgeons can treat back pain when surgery is the best treatment option for a patient. These advances are changing the type of surgery best applicable to the injury/issue, but also the outcome for the patient.
The spine is divided into three sections: cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine (top, middle and bottom respectively). Generally, the neck & lower back present the most issues because the neck is prone to pressure from bad posture and the lower back carries the most weight.
The most common types of surgery Dr. Wong performs are listed below:
Cervical Discectomy: is the most common surgery for the treatment of chronic pain in the neck as a result of a damaged disc putting pressure on nerves. A cervical discectomy (can be anterior or posterior) removes herniated or degenerative discs and supportive tissues between the bones. An incision is made in the throat area to reach and remove the disc.
An anterior (front) approach is favoured as it is less disruptive however at times a posterior (back) approach is the right option. A graft is inserted to fuse (fusion) together the bones above and below the disc. The graft may be the patients own bone or an implant depending on a number of factors and the patients medical history.
Cervical Laminectomy: is approached from the back of the neck, and removes the laminae or bony roof of the spinal canal, to alleviate pinched or compressed nerves in the neck as well as any soft tissue which may also be causing compression
Cervical Fusion: the fusion of two or more vertebrae to completely restrict movement. Without movement the ligaments, joints, muscles and nerves cannot stretch and cause pain and discomfort.
Lumbar Microdiscectomy: typically performed for herniated or protruding disc issues. This surgery removes part or the whole of the disc compressing nerves, providing relief to patients with sciatic pain. There the may be a graft added depending on the amount of bone removed.
Lumbar Laminectomy: removes the back part of a vertebrae/s (laminae or bony roof) to ease pressure on the spinal cord. Typically performed for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the open spaces in the spine.
Lumbar Fusion: a graft is used to fuse together bone at the painful vertebral section restricting movement between the vertebrae. Usually only suitable for degenerative diseases or spondylolisthesis however may be used in conjunction with other techniques if the amount of degenerative bone to be removed is significant.