Centre for Endoscopic,  Minimally Invasive spine surgery and

Deformity correction

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When to See a Spine Surgeon


Many people will experience some form of back pain during their lifetime. In most cases this pain is muscular in origin and will run its course over time.


Though spine surgeons are specialists who perform surgery on the spine, many clinic visits may result in medical treatment, and surgery is usually not considered unless conservative options to treat back pain have failed.


If your Family physcian or Orthopaedic surgeon diagnoses you with a back problem you should not delay seeking a consultation from a spine surgeon if you have any of the following symptoms:


Unrelenting pain radiating down an arm or leg.


• Feeling of heaviness in the legs on walking or standing for sometime.


• tingling or numbness in any of the four limbs.


• Pain that is unrelieved after more than a week of anti-inflammatory medications, or steroids.


• Back pain accompanied by fever, chills, night sweats and weight loss.


• Loss of ability to move an arm or a leg, or weakness in a previously functioning limb.


• Inability to control the urinary bladder or bowel function




When is surgery necessary for patients with spine problems?


The only specific indications for spine surgery include the occasional patient who has a neurologic deficit and is becoming paralyzed because of nerve pressure and a patient who develops such severe pressure on his or her spine that they lose control of their bowel and bladder. Other indications would include someone who has an infection in their spine or cancer that requires removal of the affected area in order to cure the disease. The only other indication for spine surgery is pain relief. As stated, pain is a subjective complaint only experienced by the patient. Any surgery performed is an elective procedure done after the patient decides non-operative treatments have failed and their pain is such that surgery is the only alternative to living with their pain.


What are the risks associated with spinal surgery?


This is the most frequent question I get. "Doctor i have heard that spine surgery leads to paralysis" which as far from the truth as it can be. Spine surgery is there to improve your quality of life by making you pain free.


The biggest risk is a lack of pain relief. A recently published extensive review of the literate indicates spinal fusion has an associated satisfactory relief of pain in the 80%-90% range. This would be by far the biggest risk. A disc herniation operation performed on the appropriate patient has more than 95% chance of success in terms of alleviating severe buttock and leg pain. The other risks of surgery are extremely rare, including infection and nerve injury.