If you are among the eight out of 10 Americans who experience back or neck pain at one time in their lives, your quality of life may be suffering. When the pain becomes chronic, spine surgery may be one of your options.
At Mather Hospital, our Back & Neck Pain Center, part of the Neurosciences Center aims to treat patients’ pain through the most efficient and effective care that is also the least invasive and least costly. The first step is an evaluation by the program’s nurse practitioner or physician assistant, who then confers with the clinical care team to determine the best course of treatment. Referrals may be made to any combination of specialists, including physical therapy, pain management, chiropractic, orthopedic or neurosurgery.
If spine surgery is found to be necessary for the lumbar spine (lower back), thoracic spine (middle back) or cervical spine (neck), neurosurgeons may perform one of three main types of surgery: a laminectomy – removing the back part of the bone (called the lamina) over the spinal column to relieve nerve root compression (pinched nerve); a discectomy – removing a portion of a disc to relieve pressure on a nerve; or spinal fusion, the permanent fusion of two or more vertebrae for more stability, to correct a deformity or to relieve pain.
Spine fractures caused primarily by osteoporosis may also be treated at Mather through a procedure called a Balloon Kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive treatment that involves using x-ray guidance to insert a needle into the area of the spine containing the fracture. Mather’s Interventional Radiology team uses a balloon to open the space that has been compressed, and that space is then filled with biological cement to keep it open.
Spinal Tumors may be treated through neurosurgery or through Precision CyberKnife of New York, a non-invasive treatment option that offers sub-millimeter accuracy. Precision CyberKnife can focus more than 100 beams of high dose radiation with extreme accuracy into a tumor, while avoiding healthy organs and tissue that are close by.