The Anand Spine Group - Spine Specialists Los Angeles

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Spine Treatment Has Come a Long Way

Dr. Anand Blog Article

November 8th, 2017

With the surgical practice of medicine dating back many centuries, we modern humans tend to take for granted the option to have any part of our body operated on so that our overall health can be restored. Archeological evidence has shown that brain surgery may have dated all the way back to the Neolithic period (late Stone Age). The first successful cardiac surgery, however, wasn't performed until the 1800s. What about spine surgery? It may surprise you to know that the surgical treatment of spinal disorders did not develop until the 1900s.

Relative to cardiac and brain surgery, spine surgery is a fairly young field. In fact, before the 1950s, surgical treatment of the spine was limited to a small number of procedures and diagnostic examinations. No matter the method, the spine itself was almost always accessed through large incisions in the back. As you can imagine, these early procedures were often long, risky and fraught with complications – from too much blood loss to surgical infection and a much higher death rate as a result.

The good news? Spine surgery has come a long, long way. Today, spine surgeons have the ability to address the vast majority of spinal concerns that require surgery by using a minimally invasive approach. Smaller incisions, lower complication risks, shorter hospital stays and fewer recovery days are hallmarks of minimally invasive spine surgery. Minimally invasive spine surgery is also considered "muscle sparing" – utilizing techniques to access the spine that result in less trauma to surrounding muscles and tissue, which helps patients get back to a normal life sooner.

As a spine surgery field, we've made incredible strides in utilizing minimally invasive surgical options to their fullest potential and training the next generation of spine surgeons to do the same. Now, we're focusing a significant amount of time and research on the concept of motion preservation in the surgical treatment of spinal disorders, and it's a focus that I believe the public and our patients will see great benefits from.

For people who suffer from intractable neck and arm pain with spinal disc degeneration, spinal stenosis or a herniated disc in the neck or intractable back and leg pain caused by disc degeneration, stenosis or a disc herniation in the low back – spine surgery to correct the problem is usually indicated. Historically, the techniques and devices available to do this work would require the fusing together of vertebrae so that the underlying condition was corrected, but in some cases, the patient may have been left with a quite limited range of spinal motion in the area that was operated on.

With motion preservation now a cornerstone of the spine surgery field, spine surgeons can remove damaged discs and perform spinal decompression to alleviate the pain and spinal instability associated with spinal conditions, with the utilization of motion preservation devices and techniques. In fact, my practice is one of 30 centers throughout the U.S. currently enrolling patients in a national Food and Drug Administration pivotal study to examine the potential of the first posterior arthroplasty device for the treatment of degenerative grade I spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis. The purpose of the study: clinical investigation of the TOPS System to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this system as compared to traditional lumbar fusion. This system is designed to restore range of motion of the spine in all directions, instead of just locking two vertebrae into place with a fusion.

Spine surgeons around the country are extremely hopeful that studies such as this one and others will provide us with the scientific data needed to support the continued use of technologies that aim to correct underlying spinal conditions while helping to restore range of motion so that patients can return to normal, active living after surgery.


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