The Options to Open Back Spine Surgery

patient-after-spine-surgeryThere are safe and effective alternatives to alleviating back pain other than enduring the risks and long recovery rates associated with traditional open back surgery. Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, offers patients minimally invasive surgery and treatments to help you get back to the active life you led prior to your painful onset of symptoms.

Laser Spine Surgery Offers a Second Chance

Daniel Schmalzried lived a very physically active life. He is a US military veteran, and had toiled away in underground mining, ranch work, trucking, and logging jobs, all of which can wreak havoc on the spine over the years. A couple of years ago, Daniel found that he could no longer work at all due to intense back pain in addition to numbness and weakness in his left leg. His weakness had become so pervasive that he could barely lift a gallon of milk from the refrigerator. It turned out that he had degenerative disc disease that was causing two of his vertebrae to scrape against one another. He needed help, but the medical professionals he’d seen informed him that he was too old to have risky back surgery. He soon discovered they were referring to traditional open back surgery, not realizing the alternatives offered by minimally invasive techniques.

Dr. Kamson Offers a Solution

After Daniel met with Dr. Sol Kamson, he realized that, if he’d been given the choice of minimally invasive surgery from the beginning, he would have immediately gone for it and spared himself two years of pain.

The minimally invasive surgery needed to help this particular patient was a lumbar interbody fusion. This surgical procedure performed at the Spine Institute Northwest fuses together the two joints that are grinding against one another. This relieves the severe pain that was caused by the bone that was sitting on Daniel’s nerve. It also helped restore the strength in his left leg. The disc above this area was trimmed of extraneous matter or bone material and stem cells (regenerative therapy) were injected into the area to speed up healing.

The type of minimally invasive spine surgeries Dr. Kamson performs eliminates the need to cut through muscle, as traditional spinal surgery often requires. Recovery after this type of open back surgery also requires extensive post-surgical muscle strengthening, which can be painful and take a long time.

Contact Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, for more information about minimally invasive spine surgery and how certain procedures can help you have a second chance at the active life you want back. Call one of our patient advocates today at (208) 496-0630 to schedule an appointment.

Can a Torn Spinal Disc Be Fixed?

Torn spinal discs (also known as annular tears or herniated, bulging, ruptured, and slipped discs) affect millions of people worldwide. Your spinal discs can become torn due to an injury you sustain, but most often, discs are damaged because of degenerative disc disease, a condition associated with aging and normal wear and tear.
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Your intervertebral discs give your spine the cushioning support it needs so you can comfortably move and bend. If a disc or discs become damaged, the end result can cause you extremely painful symptoms. Here’s some important information from the Spine Institute Northwest about degenerative disc disease and how the latest forms of treatment provided by Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, can help alleviate your pain.

Intervertebral Discs: What Are They?

Spinal discs are situated between each of your vertebrae. They are composed of two layers of soft tissue. The outer layer is called the annulus fibrosus, and the softer, gelatinous inner layer is the nucleus pulposus. Think of those insole support pads for shoes. They contain a gel-like material that helps absorb some of the shock your feet endure as you walk or run. Your spinal discs work in a similar way as they let your spine withstand pressure and bear weight more comfortably.

If you’ve severely and suddenly injured your back or neck, you may need surgery right away to treat the issue and avoid future problems. But more chronic painful symptoms of degenerative disc disease can take years to surface, at which time the soft tissue breakdown can be extensive. At this point, you have a few different options for treatment.

Will Time Alone Heal the Damage?

Actually, an annular tear can sometimes heal on its own, but it’s difficult to know if self-healing will actually occur. The process by which a damaged disc heals over time is called resorption. When the inflammation of a torn disc attracts certain cells known as phagocytes, these new cells absorb into the body, extinguishing the herniated cells. The process occurs naturally for some people, while resorption doesn’t occur for others, unfortunately.

Conservative Treatments for Herniated Discs

You can relieve the pain associated with torn discs, at least for a while, using over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers. Other measures include cortisone injections, rest, physical therapy, low-impact exercises, and massage therapy. If pain persists or worsens, you may need an MRI or another imaging test so Dr. Kamson can evaluate the disc in question and perhaps offer more intensive solutions.

Other Treatments

You may have tried all of the above conservative treatments, are still in pain, but want to avoid any type of surgery. If so, you may want to consider regenerative treatments. These therapies often use stem cells from your own body to help heal torn discs using a minimally invasive technique. The cells are injected into the damaged disc. The injected material is sometimes combined with other natural substances to advance healing and create new, healthy cell growth.

If you’re interested in fixing your torn spinal disc issues or having any questions about intervertebral disc treatments, contact Dr. Sol Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, today to discover more. Call us at (208) 496-0630.

Tips on Post-Surgical Home Recovery After Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

42307279-nurse-taking-female-patients-blood-pressure-in-hospitalOne of the advantages of having minimally invasive spine surgery is the shorter recovery period you’ll need as opposed to more invasive types of procedures. Although a speedier recovery time is a big plus, patients will still need a window of time after surgery during which mobility will be decreased.

If you undergo one of the minimally invasive spine procedures, such as those regularly performed at the Spine Institute Northwest under the guidance of Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, you’ll want to ensure that your recovery time at home is comfortable and your quality of life is impacted as little as possible. As the date of your spine surgery nears, it’s a good idea to have some specific items at hand in your home to help you with certain tasks during your recovery.

After a minimally invasive spinal procedure, you will want to avoid twisting your back or reaching up over your head. To avoid these movements, be sure that any pajamas or clothing you wear have buttons in front for closure, so you won’t have to pull any clothing up over your head. Choose nightwear that is large enough to keep you from being confined from movement, yet not so large that the material will clump up beneath you. You’re also bound to have an itch in an area you shouldn’t be reaching for during your recovery. Buy an inexpensive backscratcher or use a long-handled, wooden spoon to scratch that itch.

Keep a cooler full of ice packs and beverages nearby your recovery area to avoid moving around too much the first few days post-surgery. Another handy item to have nearby is a grabber. This long-handled ‘claw’ that you squeeze to grab things just out of reach will help you retrieve the TV remote, snacks, a pack of tissues, or something you’ve dropped without too much exertion or bending. Don’t forget to put trash bags on your list of shopping items for your at-home recovery period. A plastic bag will come in handy if you’re having difficulty moving in and out of bed. If you lay down on the bag first, you can then slide off the bed more easily when you need to get up. Wear a slip-on shoe with a rubber sole, like Crocs, to help you get mobile and walk around without having to bend over and work with shoelaces.

Finally, think about your movements while taking a shower. Have a long-handled bath brush and shower gel ready to use so you can reach areas of your body easily and without stress or strain.

You can discuss these tips and obtain many other pieces of advice from Dr. Kamson when you go over the details of your minimally invasive procedure and period of recovery. Call Dr. Sol Kamson at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, today and make an appointment to discuss your specific needs.