Many individuals present to our office with preconceived opinions regarding neck, back or spine surgery. Friends or family members may have shared second-hand stories with them, sometimes recalling less than desirable outcomes. They want to know if it is time for them to have surgery. Each patient’s situation is different.
An in-depth evaluation of an individual’s back and spine issues can determine if, when, and what kind of surgery is necessary to achieve the best outcome. While surgery is certainly not indicated for everyone, the right procedure done for the right condition on the right patient can produce dramatic and satisfying results.
So what is the right procedure, the right condition and the right time for back or neck surgery?
To begin, an evaluation of a neck, back or spine condition entails a complete history and physical exam, as well as a review of any imaging studies. It is important to correlate a patient’s symptoms with objective findings and imaging abnormalities in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Oftentimes, there are findings on an imaging study that do not correlate with a patient’s symptoms, and therefore are considered “incidental.” These incidental findings often do not require any specific treatment.
Delineating the exact etiology of a patient’s symptoms is the most important initial step in the treatment process. Doctors can consider various treatment options after a diagnosis. These options are based upon literature supported studies, indicating statistical benefit for a specific treatment. From this, we derive the right procedure for the right condition.
Who is the right patient?
Many patients with neck and/or back conditions can be treated non-operatively. Suggested modalities may include such things as activity modification, medication, physical therapy, epidural steroid injections, etc.
If a patient fails to improve with non-operative, conservative treatments, they may be in need of neck or back surgery. There are some other signs we see that indicate surgery may be beneficial:
- Persistent pain and neurologic symptoms that remain despite conservative treatment
- Constant pain and mobility issues that substantially interfere with one’s lifestyle
- Symptoms are consistent with abnormal findings present on imaging studies
Certain diagnosed conditions may potentially benefit from surgical intervention, including:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Spondylolisthesis (abnormal slippage of the spine)
- Spondylosis (arthritis)
Individuals who exhibit these signs or are diagnosed with these conditions may become the right patient for the right surgery.
Let Your Provider Choose The Right Treatment For You
Most spinal conditions improve with non-operative treatment; giving your body time to heal itself often resolves many ailments. For individuals who fail to improve with non-operative treatment, surgical intervention can substantially improve their condition. However, the surgeon must choose the right procedure for the right condition on the right patient in order to have an optimal outcome.
At EmergeOrtho–Blue Ridge Region, we understand how neck and back pain and injuries can impact your quality of life and keep you from doing the things you love. Our team of providers is committed to providing the most advanced, highest-quality care to eliminate your pain and get you back to living your life.
To discuss your condition and determine the right treatment, schedule an appointment today or call us at 828.407.1700. Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better with the help of EmergeOrtho–Blue Ridge Region.