Back and Spinal Surgery
Your spinal cord is the central nervous system of your body and it sends messages to your brain. The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae that protect your spinal cord and nerve roots. A rubbery disc sits between each vertebra to cushion the bones and allows your spine to flex. Ligaments connect the vertebrae and provide strength and movement. Muscles are attached to your spine and offer support.
All parts of your spine can be damaged or strained due to wear and tear, disease or injury and lead to back pain. Many people suffer from back and neck pain and early treatment is recommended.
Mount Stuart Hospital provides a fast and accurate diagnosis for your back pain. If required spinal surgeons will perform spinal surgery to relieve your pain. Treatments we offer include: facet joint injections, nerve root decompressions surgery, kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty.
The range of spinal surgeries we offer
Nerve root decompression surgery
Your nerve roots can become compressed for many reasons including thickening of the ligaments and vertebral bones, the development of bony spurs and discs becoming herniated. These changes reduce the amount of space around your nerve root and may cause a tissue to press on them, resulting in neural impingement.
Nerve root decompression surgery or lumbar decompression surgery aims to create more space for your nerve root and relieve the pressure on it. There are a number of procedures that can be performed to achieve this which may be carried out on their own or together depending upon the exact reason for the impingement.
Discectomy is the removal of herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root. Laminectomy is the removal of a portion of your vertebral bone that is causing impingement and the widening of the spinal canal. Spinal fusion is when two or more bones are joined together using a graft and takes away the pressure of the bone on your nerve root.
Surgery is normally offered when non-surgical options have been tried but they haven’t been successful in alleviating your pain.
An intervertebral disc acts as shock absorber between every vertebra in the spinal column and they keep the vertebrae separated during impact from an activity. If one of your intervertebral discs becomes damaged and ruptures, the inner jelly like substance may seep out and put pressure on a surrounding nerve or nerves or on the whole spinal cord. This can lead to pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in your back, neck and legs.
A discectomy removes the damaged part of a bulging disc in your spine that may be causing neural impingement. It can be performed using minimally invasive or open surgery.
The part at the front of each vertebral bone is called the body of the vertebra and this can become damaged by injury or weakened by disease. If it breaks or collapses this is called a vertebral compression fracture (VCF). Vertebral compression fractures can cause your spine to change shape and shorten or curve forwards and results in pain. Osteoporosis is the most common cause of a VCF.
Kyphoplasty is used to treat vertebral compression fractures. It involves inserting a balloon into your vertebra and inflating it to expand your compressed vertebra to its normal height. Bone cement is then placed into the space created to stabilise the vertebra. Kyoplasty will be repeated for all affected vertebrae.
The aim of this procedure is to restore the height of your vertebra and straighten your spinal curve which will relieve your pain and also prevent further fractures occurring.
Vertebroplasty is an alternative procedure for treating vertebral compression fractures. Bone cement is inserted into the compressed vertebra using minimally invasive surgery and X-ray guidance.
A vertebroplasty procedure aims to stabilise your spinal fracture and stop the pain caused by the fracture.
Facet joint injections
Your facet joints are found on either side of your spine between neighbouring vertebrae. They are designed to provide your spine with stability as well as aiding movement of your spine.
Long term back pain is often due to damaged facet joints caused by osteoporosis. Facet joint injections contain a local anaesthetic to numb your pain and steroids to decrease inflammation in these joints. These injections are usually given as an outpatient procedure.
Facet joint injections are also used diagnostically to confirm that your pain is coming from your facet joints and if you so which one.
The following Consultants specialise in back surgery at Mount Stuart Hospital