The human spine is a remarkably designed structure. Still, it sometimes needs some attention from skilled surgeons if there’s a problem that can’t be resolved with nonsurgical remedies, which is where spinal technology comes into play. Many of the newer spine-related technologies are intended to be less invasive while also retaining spinal segment motion, improving fusion results, easing post-surgical pain, and speeding up the recovery process. Below, you’ll learn more about some of the newest back surgery technologies available today.
The most commonly performed type of back surgery, spinal fusion has come a long way over the years. Newer technologies have reduced postoperative pain and complications and improved accuracy and fusion success rates. There have also been improvements with:
• Bone graft options
• Cages and implants
• Methods of fixation
There are also robot-assisted surgery systems used for some spinal fusion procedures. The idea is to combine the guidance of a skilled Los Angeles spine surgeon with the precision of robotic technology.
At one time, surgery involving these joints at the bottom of the spine was fairly invasive due to the challenges posed by operating in this location. But that has changed with newer technologies. Today, if you have pain from a sacroiliac joint dysfunction that’s not going away with conservative care, a less invasive SI joint fusion option is more likely to be recommended.
This approach to replacing a damaged disc within the neck area has become so reliable since its development that it’s now routinely considered an acceptable and safe alternative to traditional surgery for this purpose. With the traditional technique, which is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF), the problem disc is removed and a fusion is done to maintain spinal stability. Newer technologies allow cervical spine motion to be retained while still replacing the damaged disc. A newer variation of cervical artificial disc replacement can be done on two levels.
Spinal bones sometimes become damaged enough to require surgery. Prior to improvements in newer back surgery technologies, however, it was rare for surgery to be performed to repair a fractured vertebra, especially one with osteoporosis compression fractures. But these days, vertebral augmentation is more common and reliable. Two popular options are vertebroplasties and kyphoplasties. These minimally invasive techniques use bone cement and a special type of balloon catheter to restore vertebral height affected by fractures
Before any type of back surgery is discussed, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. Newer technologies aren’t going to do you any favors if the true source of your symptoms hasn’t been determined. It’s also important to consider:
• How experienced the surgeon is with newer technologies
• The fact that even newer surgical technologies present certain risks
• Whether a second or even third opinion is warranted if you have lingering doubts about surgery
Lastly, technology itself shouldn’t be the only factor that determines which approach to surgery is right for you. Because many factors are involved with back-related pain, spine specialists typically also consider patient goals and overall health and the unique issues contributing to symptoms. Once everything relevant has been considered, a personalized treatment recommendation can be made.
Technological innovations are increasing success rates for a variety of spine surgery procedures. Even so, the best technology in the world won’t relieve symptoms if the true source of the issue isn’t being addressed, which is why it’s equally important to get an accurate diagnosis and consider opinions from more than one spine specialist or surgeon before deciding to have a procedure such as coflex back surgery. Los Angeles patients can reach out to The Spine Institute at 310-828-7757 to schedule an appointment.