Spinal Decompression Surgery | SmartGuy

Spinal Decompression Surgery

Doctor - General Practice

(Article 1 of 2)

Spinal Decompression is a procedure that relieves or hopefully obliterates disc pain in the lower back.  You might be one of those unfortunate patients who also experience pains in the neck and upper back; the surgery works equally well for this condition. 

Symptoms include the feeling of numbness and tingles in fingers and toes, as well as headaches (often leading to a series of migraines) and various body aches.  Many people may consider these symptoms just getting older or dismiss them as rheumatism, arthritis or a similar affliction; they may, in fact, be amenable to spinal decompression therapy. 

In cases of extremity, the patient may be partially immobilized, and everyday tasks such as walking or reaching are difficult if not impossible.  Again, many of these individuals have responded positively to the spinal decompression surgery outlined here.

Spinal decompression is administered in two ways, surgical and non - surgical.  For purposes of space, we are confining this article to the surgical method.

This treatment is called microdecompression (also known as a discectomy), and it does involve considerable expense.   Even with proper medical insurance, the payments can run in excess of $30K, at least half of which, as many patients discover, is not covered under most medical plans. 

The method involves at least one surgery (it can be as many as 20); these, because of the delicate nature of adjustment and realignment of the spinal cord, are a series of small and minimally invasive procedures.  

In each surgery, a small portion of the disc that has decayed, decomposed or herniated (usually located in the lower middle of the back) is removed.   In the initial surgery, the doctor may find he can remove most or all of the diseased or distended disc, or at least most of theexcess tissue that has grown around the disc (which is the bodys natural protection of the spinal area). 

The surgeries continue (on an average of one a month, unless the patients recuperation is slower, which is often the case with the elderly) until the entire disc is removed.  At this point, the segments of the spine can naturally realign; usually this involves wearing a back brace or similar corseting device.   In some cases, pins are inserted surgically to maintain the spinal rigidity needed for the realignment.  

Disc material is removed either with surgical instruments or, in a treatment that is gaining some ground in the medical community, with lasers.   A single treatment can run between $1000 and $3000, depending upon the surgerys time and the instrumentality used. 

It also makes a difference where the disc is located; the easier it can be reached, the more easily the surgeries can be facilitated. 

As one might expect, both the surgeries and the recovery are lengthy, and the patient is well advised to discuss the procedures thoroughly with his or her surgeon before beginning this fairly extensive and difficult course of treatment. 

In particular, the patient might want to explore the non - surgical method of open decompression; this is a lengthy set of procedures that require a separate article. 

For now, hopefully this summary successfully introduces you to spinal decompression in its surgical form.