Long-Term Results for Back Surgery

When your spine doctor has you scheduled for surgery, chances are you have already tried other, non-invasive methods in an attempt to relieve your back pain. When you’re expecting to undergo a procedure, you may wonder what to expect in the long-term after your back surgery. The type of surgery you have depends on what is causing you pain or inconvenience, and because the spine is made up of so many little parts, the variety of surgeries is staggering. Luckily, they can be condensed to more general surgeries.

Disc Replacement

In disk replacement, the spinal surgeon removes a spinal disk in your vertebra that has been damaged, and then replaces it with an artificial one. Disc replacement allows you to continue moving your spine like normal, and has a shorter recovery time than other back surgeries.

Spinal Fusion

This is one of the most common surgeries to help ease someone’s back pain. In spinal fusion, the doctor joins your vertebra together. In the long-term, your motion will be limited as your nerves may not be able to stretch as far as they used to, but many patients report that their overall activity isn’t so limited that it inconveniences them.

Foraminotomy

In this procedure, the spinal surgeon makes space for your nerves by cutting away at the bones found at the side of your vertebra. This space helps ease the pressure on your nerves, which may have been what was originally causing your back pain. Because this procedure has a chance at making your spine less stable, it may occur at the same time as a spinal fusion. The initial recovery period lasts longer compared to other surgeries, but this is so that your spine is sure to be in good shape long-term, allowing you to do your daily tasks.

Laminectomy

This is similar to a foraminotomy, except the surgeon removes parts of bone spurs, ligaments, or bone in your back. Once again, doing so will relieve some pressure on your nerves, but may make your spine less stable. Laminectomies tend to be done with spinal fusions to help counter the instability.

Interlaminar Implant

The interlaminar implant is back surgery where a device shaped like a U is implanted in the lower part of your back. Usually done with a laminectomy, this device keeps space between two vertebra open, easing pressure on nerves. The device provides more stability and, unlike spinal fusion, allows you to bend your back normally in the long-term. The only exception is that bending backward may be more difficult.

For the best long-term results out of your back surgery, proper self-care is just as important as choosing the surgery itself. An experienced New Jersey spine doctor will not only help you find the procedure that is right for you, but will also consult you on the best practices and behaviors needed to make your postoperative recovery a pleasant one. Marc Cohen is a New Jersey spine doctor who specializes in minimally invasive methods, a recognized expert in the spinal field who can help you relieve your back pain. Contact us today to set an appointment at one of our locations.