Advances Made in Back Surgery in 2016

The medical field continues to grow with developing technologies, and spinal surgeries are no exception. As minimally invasive surgery gains popularity, more researchers have fine-tuned more surgical tools and techniques to work in tandem with the procedure. Throughout 2016, new and refined advancements for spinal navigation technology and more sophisticated biomaterials for implants shine a bright light for potential patients in 2017.

Disc Replacement and Regeneration May Take Over Spinal Fusion

Although spinal fusion used to be the most traditional method of surgery for patients with back pain, it is gradually falling to the wayside. While the procedure itself will probably never disappear, we can expect to see it phase out for more practical operations like disc replacement and regeneration. Many patients can benefit more from an artificial disc replacement as it provides more movement at the area where the herniated disc used to be while alleviating as much pain as a spinal fusion would. Advancements in genetic engineering also hint at the possibility of injecting specialized cells that can “regenerate” the discs worn down by age or stress.

Spinal Navigation Technology Can Help Surgeons See

In the past, surgeons relied on X-rays and spinal implant tools to help give them an idea of the “geography” of a patient’s spine. While surgeons are by no means blind when undergoing a procedure, researchers knew that better alternatives were available, encouraging the development of computer assisted imaging within the last decade. By the end of 2016, this imaging technique is at a point where a surgeon can know where he is within the spine at all times. The added knowledge allows for more accurate decompression techniques (useful for getting rid of unnecessary pressure on spinal nerves), tumor removals, and spinal implants. Doctors can plan how to approach the spine by loading a virtual model of the patient’s vertebral structure before the procedure.

Although advances in spinal surgery techniques continue to move forward, those who experience back pain or other spinal issues still need accurate information on what procedure is right for them. If you are looking to see what the best treatment for your back, neck, or leg pain is, contact us at the Spine Institute. Our New Jersey spinal experts can help show you the path to alleviating your discomfort.