Emergency Spine Surgery
There are certain situations where spine surgery is an emergency. Thankfully, those situations are rare. In general, emergency situations are those instances where delay may cause irreversible harm to your body. Usually, that situation means experiencing more than just pain. Emergency spine surgery situations are associated with nerve or spinal cord compression that needs relief to give the chance of restoration to normal function. These situations usually involve trauma, infection or cancer.
Elective Spine Surgery
Elective spine surgery is a choice made by a patient after trying to deal with the situation for some time. Usually, there has been a come-and-go period of pain, discomfort, tingling and numbness, without severe muscle loss. For scoliosis patients, there has been an observation period with evidence of progression of the curvature. For patients with an instability pattern, there has been a steady increasing nature of the pain. Despite treatments such as medications, injections, and therapy the symptoms have worsened. For disk herniation patients, there have been recurrent episodes of severe pain, with associated dermatomal neurologic findings.
The decision for surgery is not life threatening (that is more of the emergency spine surgery criteria), but is secondary to a progression of symptoms. For some, the progression is manageable. For some, secondary to the natural aging process, the activity restrictions that naturally result (we do slow down as we get older) are enough to accommodate the underlying spine condition.
For others, the spinal condition is isolated to a specific area, and elective spine surgery can have a significant positive effect on their daily life activities. The chances that elective spine surgery can improve your life, with reasonable associated risks, need to be explored by the patient and the surgeon.
For more information on emergency and elective spine surgery or other neuroscience services available, please call 856-256-7591.