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.

Dr. Sol Kamson’s Presentation on Minimally Invasive Procedures

dr-solomon-kamson-wfmiss-panelThe World Federation of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (WFMISS) exists to promote an exchange of scientific ideas and findings among specialists who are dedicated to minimally invasive spine surgeries and treatments. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, had the honor of presenting at the 2014 World Congress of WFMISS in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Kamson presented his findings on a panel that was focused on less invasive surgical treatments for the spine. His presentation, “Full Endoscopic Lumbar Fusion Surgeries Performed in Outpatient Center – Outcomes Study,” observed the end results of 32 minimally invasive fusion procedures performed on patients at his surgical outpatient center.

Twelve of the subjects in this study had been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, two had been in car accidents in addition to having endured work-related injuries, while two others had specifically experienced injuries on the job. Five patients had been hurt in a different manner, and ten people were unsure as to the root of their chronic pain. Dr. Kamson performed decompression on these patients at the fused level as an outpatient procedure using local anesthesia. One hundred percent of the lumbar fusion patients were complication-free within 72 hours of the procedure. Sixty-two percent of the patients experienced less than 5 cc of blood loss, an extremely minimal amount.

Dr. Kamson reviewed the longitudinal data, noting a substantial increase in pain relief as compared to the Visual Analog Scale each patient filled out prior to the procedure as compared to how each felt post-surgery after six months. Patients who had reported their back pain as averaging a 7.29 on the scale described their pain as going down to 3.95 on average, post-surgery. Those experiencing leg pain went from 5.5 on average to 2.66. The patients were generally pleased with their surgical outcomes, with 91% satisfied to some level, 59% reporting they were a “great deal satisfied,” and nearly 72% stating they would recommend minimally invasive lumbar fusion to others.

Positive long-term outcomes for minimally invasive lumbar fusion procedures are backed up by the research data Dr. Kamson presented at the World Federation.

You can read his research data and findings presented at the 2014 World Congress of WFMISS Istanbul on the Spine Institute Northwest website.

To learn more about how minimally invasive lumbar fusion surgeries work and what you can expect before, during and after recovery, call the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA today.