For anyone who struggles with moderate to severe lower back pain, non-surgical treatment is typically the first line of treatment. However, for anyone who has failed more conservative measures, back surgery may be the next option. Having back surgery can provide pain relief and restore normal function.
The two types of back surgery commonly used are spinal fusion and artificial disc replacement.
Lumbar Spinal Fusion
This is the traditional approach that’s used by a neurosurgeon Los Angeles based or your current area to treat pain or any type of disability that comes from lumbar degenerative disc disease. The surgery simply involve forming a connection between the vertebrae that surround the painful disc. The pain relief comes when the motion of the painful disc is stopped. Depending on your symptoms and anatomy, a doctor may recommend that you have spinal fusion.
Artificial Disc Replacement
With this replacement procedure, the general process involves removing the painful disc and using a prosthetic implant. This is similar to the process used in artificial hip and knee joint surgeries. Since disc replacement is only available for some types of back-related problems.
Deciding on Surgery
Some of the considerations for the type of surgery will depend on your symptoms and severity of your condition. Surgery may not be necessarily recommended. The risks and potential complications for both surgeries are fairly similar. However, since each person is different, your neurosurgeon will discuss the plan of care with you during a consultation and recommend the appropriate procedure.
Before having any type of surgery though, patients who struggle with lower back pain should remember that not all pain is treatable by surgery. Since most doctors prefer to pursue a non-surgical option initially, surgery may not be your best option. If you fail the non-operative treatment, evaluation with an MRI and X-ray is recommended by your surgeon. They may also want to perform additional tests such as a CT scan or provocative discography. This additional testing can let your surgeon know whether surgery is appropriate and if you are a candidate for fusion or disc replacement
If you’re concerned about back pain, setting up a consultation is the best initial step. It may take time to decide on the best solution but make sure to review your options with the neurosurgeon. Once you understand the potential benefits and risks, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on your best treatment plan.