Posts Tagged ‘laminectomy’

Back Surgery: Should You or Shouldn’t you?

Learn when back surgery is a good idea and what your surgical and nonsurgical options might be, from an Emory specialist.If you’re like most Americans, you’re no stranger to back pain. When the pain interferes with your life, it’s time for treatment. But is it time for back surgery?

Today’s surgical techniques are safer and often less invasive than in years past. But any surgery carries some risks, such as infection, bleeding, blood loss or nerve damage. Always get a second opinion from a qualified spine specialist before you have back surgery. And, try other treatments first, such as physical therapy, cortisone shots or medication.

“Even surgeons don’t always agree on whether to operate or what type of surgery to perform. Back and leg pain can be complex,” explained Emory spine specialist Dheera Ananthakrishnan, MD. “At Emory, we take a team approach and we consider your goals and preferences as priority.”

Back surgery options might include:

  • Discectomy: Removal of the herniated portion of a disk to relieve pressure and pain.
  • Laminectomy: Removal of the bone overlying the spinal canal to relieve nerve pressure from spinal stenosis.
  • Fusion: Connection of two or more bones in your spine to make your back more stable and prevent painful motion between the bones.
  • Artificial disk: Removal of a disk and replacement with an artificial one. Artificial disks are fairly new and may not be an option for many people.

Is back or leg pain affecting your life? The Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center in Atlanta can help. Do you want to learn more now? Yes, I want to learn more now.

cta-learn-blue

About Dr. Ananthakrishnan

ananthakrishnan-dheeraDr. Ananthakrishnan trained with one of the pioneers of scoliosis surgery, Dr. David Bradford, at the University of California at San Francisco. After completion of her fellowship, she practiced orthopedic and spine surgery for over three years at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 2007, she left Seattle to work with Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She then worked as a volunteer consultant at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, before starting her position at Emory University, where her focus is on adult and adolescent scoliosis.

In 2009, Dr Ananthakrishnan co-founded Orthopaedic Link, a non-profit dedicated to improving orthopaedic care in the developing world by mobilization of unused implants from the United States.   She is also a candidate member of the Scoliosis Research Society.

Although Dr Ananthakrishnan routninely performs complex spinal reconstruction surgery, an injury in 2012 caused her to reevaluate her own approach to musculoskeletal health.  Her practice philosophy now focuses on strengthening, stretching and general conditioning  (“prehab”) as an adjunct to surgical care of her patients.

Do You Think You Have a Ruptured Disc? Check Out These Signs and Symptoms of a Herniated or Ruptured Disc

Herniated DiscA herniated disc, also commonly referred to as a ruptured disc or slipped disc, occurs when a cartilage disc in the spine becomes damaged and moves out of place resulting in a pinched nerve. You can have a herniated or ruptured disc in any area of your spine but most often it affects the lumbar spine (lower back area). There are many causes of a herniated or ruptured disc including:

  • Degeneration due to aging
  • Wear and tear
  • Injury to the vertebrae
  • Sudden strain or sprain in lower back
  • Sports injuries or accidents

Symptoms of a herniated or ruptured Disc

Symptoms of a ruptured disc will vary from person to person but the most common symptoms of a herniated or ruptured disc include:

  • Severe pain in the back around the ruptured area
  • Muscle weakness, numbness, shooting pain or tingling in the legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain in shoulders, arms, chest, ribs or thighs (depending on where the rupture has taken place)

Treatment for a herniated or ruptured Disc

Most often herniated discs can be treated without surgical intervention. We typically recommend starting a patient on anti-inflammatory medications, ice and heat to reduce the severity of the pain. In some cases a steroid injection may be helpful, and in others physical therapy with back exercises can be added to the treatment plan. If all other options are exhausted and radiating arm/leg pain persists after 6 – 12 weeks of treatment, surgery may be recommended.

If a herniated or ruptured disc is identified quickly, treatments are more likely to be successful. Any one with a ruptured disc should modify their activity level to avoid lifting heavy objects as well as avoid bending or any activities which worsens the radiation of arm/leg pain. Sports activities should also be reduced while healing.

Some surgery options for herniated or ruptured discs are:

At Emory, our nationally renowned spine specialists work together to diagnose and treat cervical spine and lumbar conditions. Emory physiatrists (non-operative physicians) and surgeons use innovative approaches to spine care and have extensive experience that allows us to boast high success rates. Emory is one of the largest University – based Spine Centers in the United States. Our physicians typically exhaust non-surgical options first, but if surgery is recommended, most surgeries for herniated or ruptured discs are performed at Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital in Tucker. Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital is a dedicated orthopedic and spine hospital and it leverages the pioneering vision, latest research and medical advances to provide high quality patient and family centered care.

About Scott Boden, MD

Scott Boden, MDScott D. Boden, MD, is Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Dr. Boden started practicing at Emory in 1992. During his fellowship at Case Western Reserve Hospital in Cleveland, Dr. Boden trained with one of the founding fathers of modern spine surgery, Dr. Henry Bohlman. A primary original researcher on bone growth factor development and spine fusion technology, Dr. Boden is also an internationally renowned lecturer and teacher and the driving force behind the Emory University Orthopedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH).

Dr. Boden’s Clinical Interests:
Dr. Boden’s areas of clinical interest include surgical and nonsurgical management of adult degenerative spinal disorders including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis in the cervical and lumbar spine. He was recently named in another Becker’s list of Top 50 Spine Surgeons in the U.S. and is a skilled surgeon with techniques of microdiscectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion, and laminoplasty.

The Road to Emory: Education
• Medical School: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 1986
• Internship: George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 1987
• Residency: George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 1991
• Fellowship: Case Western Reserve University Hospital, Cleveland, OH 1992

Personal
Dr. Boden is the proud father of triplets who graduated first and tied for second in their high school class. He is also a baseball aficionado and coaches high school and travel softball teams.

Related Links