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Every structure in this universe needs a pillar of support. And that is no different for our human body which can be termed the most complicated structure of this universe. The spine which constitutes the bones, muscles, tendons and other tissues from the base of the skull to the tailbone is our supporting pillar. Also known as the backbone, it provides structural support and balance to our body. In simple terms, we need our backbone to stand straight! This shows how important our spine is to us and so there is no need to say that we must take care of our spinal health. Any damage to our spine calls for spine surgery. Let us now analyse in detail the causes, procedures and types of spine surgery.

What is Spine Surgery?

Spine surgery is a must and best option for people suffering from pain or discomfort in the spine. Even Though the spine is a very large part of our body, not every spine surgeries are a major one. Several spine surgeries are minimally invasive. Minimally invasive spine surgeries have many advantages over traditional open surgeries. The average price of a Spine Surgery in India is INR Rs. 2,30,000. Spine surgery costs vary depending on the hospital and procedures. The best-recommended hospitals for spine surgery are Ganga hospital Coimbatore, AIIMS Delhi, CMC Vellore and Apollo Hospital, Navi Mumbai.

Types of Spine Surgery

Spine surgeries generally fall into two categories: decompressing the neurological structures and stabilizing the spine. In specific terms, there are four types of spine surgery procedures available. The first one is Discectomy which is a decompressive type of surgery. Another type of decompressive method is Laminectomy. Endoscopic spine surgery (ESS) is an ultra minimally invasive surgical procedure that effectively relieves chronic low back and leg pain. Cervical spine surgery is a relatively safe procedure. Lumbar surgery refers to any type of surgery in the lumbar spine or lower back. It makes use of the spinal fusion method. It is also known as l4 l5 spinal surgery. There is another approach to spinal fusion called Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) which is a minimally invasive procedure to treat spinal disorders. Laser spine surgery uses a laser to remove tissue that may be pressing on or pinching a nerve.

How to Know When You Might Need Spine Surgery?

Spine problems can be treated non-surgically. Physical therapy, home exercises, medication and even spinal injections are recommended before considering surgery. If the problem persists, then surgery becomes a good option. For patients experiencing extremities of neurogenic pain or patients with issues related to the spinal cord or nerve root compressions as a significant weakness in an arm or leg or limb, surgical intervention is the best decision.

What Is Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery?

Once you decide to go for spine surgery, the next step is to choose between traditional open surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery. A minimally invasive spine (MIS) surgery is recommended in conditions of spinal instability, bone spurs, herniated discs, scoliosis or spinal tumours. It is a surgical procedure that involves the stabilization of the vertebral bones and spinal joints or relieving the pressure being applied to the spinal nerves. A Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery has reduced trauma to the muscles and soft tissues compared to open procedures. Several methods can be used to minimize trauma during MIS surgery like using a Tubular Retractor which involves progressive dilation of the soft tissues, as opposed to cutting directly through the muscles.

How to avoid spine surgery?

Spine treatment without surgery is highly advised. Spine issues can often be treated with physical activity and lifestyle modifications. More conservative options are available. Putting aside the age factor, everyone should undergo some focused physical activity at least four days per week. Then comes physical therapy to maintain good form. The next step is taking extra support from a pain management specialist or physiatrist. Attitudes are to be changed too. Our day-to-day health is so impactful on our bones and joints and we need to rely upon our primary care doctor for the same. If all the lifestyle adjustments, physical therapy and pain management techniques are not providing appropriate relief, then only go for spine surgery. Proper exercise after spine surgery is a must for a fast recovery.

Differences between traditional spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery

There are some evident differences between traditional spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery. Considering the factors of blood loss, hospital stay duration, infection rates and recovery time, a minimally invasive surgical procedure is the best option. Moreover, It is important to maximize the benefit for the patient while minimizing the trauma of surgery as much as possible. Some MIS surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures and utilize only local anaesthesia thus reducing the risk of an adverse reaction to general anaesthesia. The other likely advantages of MIS surgeries over traditional open surgeries are better cosmetic results from smaller skin incisions, less blood loss from surgery, reduced risk of muscle damage as no cutting of the muscle is required, reduced risk of infection and postoperative pain, faster recovery and less rehabilitation required, and very less requirement of pain medications after surgery.