Neck and back pain is a very common problem with many different causes and treatments. Degenerative disc disease is a common cause of missed time at work and can have a major impact on a person’s health and well-being. Not all patients with neck and back pain require surgery. The neurosurgeons at Neurosurgery Associates of West Texas will review your symptons and imaging studies to determine if surgery is indicated and can offer a wide variety of procedures to treat your condition safely and effectively. Some of the degenerative spine problems treated include disc herniations, spinal stenosis, spondylosis and spondylolisthesis. Some of the surgeries for these conditions include the following:
- Microdisectomy – a herniated disc is removed to take pressure off of a pinched nerve. This is frequently done through a minimally invasive approach (<2cm skin incision) and the patient will likely go home the same day.
- Laminectomy – bone and arthritic tissue is removed to open a narrowed spinal canal, taking pressure off compressed nerve roots. This also is sometimes done through a minimally invasive approach.
- Spinal Fusion – this may be required for a severely degenerative disc or if a spondylolisthesis (slipped vertebrae) is present. Instrumentation, such as plates, screws, or rods, are used to stabilize the abnormal movement at the diseased level and bone graft is placed to create a fusion.
- Disc Replacement – for some selected patients, this may be an alternative to fusion. The diseased disc is removed completely and replaced with an artificial device that does not restrict the normal range of motion.
Neurosurgery Associates also treats traumatic injuries, spinal cord injuries, and fractures of the spine. Some of these injuries may heal without surgery. A collar or back brace may be used to help ensure proper healing. Some fractures will require surgical stabilization with placement of instrumentation (plates, screws, and/or rods). Our neurosurgeons have the training and expertise to recommend and perform the correct treatment for these injuries.
Sometimes tumors of the spine can be a cause of spine pain or might even cause weakness and sensation loss from spinal cord and/or nerve room compression. Some tumors are benign and are incidentally discovered. Observation with repeat imaging to ensure stability may be all that is required for these. Tumors that are symptomatic, have shown signs of progressive growth, or appear malignant will likely require surgery. Neurosurgery Associates can offer state-of-the-art surgical techniques to treat these tumors safely and effectively.
Some of the tools and techniques to performs these surgeries include:
- Microsurgery – use of an operating microscope and specialized instruments
- Intraoperative image-guided navigation, or Stealth – a computer displays images of the patient’s anatomy on a screen for the surgeon to view
- Neurologic monitoring – a technician places leads to continuously monitor nerve/spinal cord function throughout surgery.
- Radiosurgery – focused beams of radiation are used to treat some tumors of the spine without actual surgery