A Beginner’s Guide to Spine Surgery
Why is spine surgery necessary?
Anyone who has suffered from back pain for three months or longer knows how agonizing it can be. Although many people claim to have miracle cures for chronic back pain, some even boast that they can completely cure the condition, providing actual relief from back pain is a very arduous task. Many people try online gadgets, activities, or exercises suggested by health magazines or well-meaning friends, or even health care providers, without any relief. There is no shortage of home remedies or treatments for back pain.
A spine surgeon’s ultimate goal is to help the patient find lasting back pain relief, especially for patients who have given up and surrendered to the possibility of just ‘living with pain’, perhaps because of a disability, disfigurement, or lifestyle changes, so extreme that pain is the only option left.
Dr. Arun Saroha is one such spine surgeon, whose aim is to help as many patients as he can. He is an extremely talented and versatile neurosurgeon, capable of performing complex spine surgery. He has a lot of experience in dealing with spine or neurosurgery cases, with a plethora of positive outcomes. This makes him one of the best spine surgeons in Gurgaon.
Spine surgery is often considered to be an ‘easy way out of pain by many people, which is generally a big misconception. Spine surgery is not easy and it is certainly not risk-free. In some rare cases, it may even fail to eliminate the pain. But it is the last hope of many chronic back pain patients. For these patients, spine surgery has become a beacon of hope for returning to their daily lives, without the aid of any pain medicine. Not just for chronic back pain patients, spine surgery has restored the sense of living for many patients suffering from degenerative diseases or that have traumatic spine injuries.
This does not mean that every back pain patient should consider spine surgery. It is a big task and people should very carefully and thoroughly explore other non-surgery options before turning to spine surgery. There are many different factors to be concerned with before spine surgery can be performed.
In patients who are not suffering from a traumatic spine injury, spine surgery is considered only when other more conservative treatment options have failed to provide the patient with adequate relief from pain.
Conservative treatments from back pain include:-
- Physical Therapy
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Chiropractic treatments
- Medication therapy, etc.
Some of the cases where spine surgery is considered are-
- Persistent or chronic back pain
- Severe disability, where the patient has become wheelchair-bound
- Disfigurements such as scoliosis or kyphosis
The complexity of all spine surgery cases is not equal, and neither is the neurosurgeon performing them. Spine surgery should be considered freely in cases where the surgical treatment can be provided with a minimally invasive procedure. This is because minimally invasive spine surgery reduces the overall risk of the procedure by minimizing the surgical trauma to the patient and reducing their recovery time.
While choosing a spine surgeon you must always consider the following points:-
- The surgeon should be honest and willing to discuss other, more conservative treatment avenues with you. A trigger-happy spine surgeon is not a good thing for anyone!!!
- Likewise, in the event that spine surgery is necessary and unavoidable, they must be willing to openly discuss the treatment with you, along with the risks and the recovery time of the surgery.
- The surgeon must have the necessary skill and expertise to treat your ailment.
- The surgeon must have a comfortable demeanor, i.e. he should be able to make you comfortable enough around him that you can openly discuss your fears and hopes regarding the surgery with him.
Spine surgery is as much art as it is science. As such, there are no guarantees with the treatment. There are many conditions that it can successfully treat and many that it can’t. While there are many different advanced spine surgery procedures that have been successful in eliminating patients’ pain, especially pain caused due to structural issues with the spine, no treatment comes with a 100 percent guarantee that it can completely relieve pain.
As discussed above, chronic back pain is the leading cause of spine surgery, but the pain is a symptom. The surgeon might be able to discover the actual problem, based on the nature and the location of the pain, whether it is a structural issue with the spine or something else. Pain is not a fixable problem. The most a spine surgeon can do is perform an extensive physical examination on the patient, along with imaging tests to carefully and as accurately as he can, diagnose the source of pain for the patient, so that the treatment can start.
Only after reaching a diagnosis can a spine surgeon start to devise a treatment plan for the patient, or recommend them a nonsurgical conservative treatment option. Spine surgery is NOT RECOMMENDED for patients who have not tried other treatment avenues, as it is the last option to improve the lifestyle of the patient after everything else has failed.
Although still very risky, some of the risks associated with spine surgery have been mitigated, thanks to the advances in medical imaging technologies, which have exploratory spine surgeries even rarer and very redundant.
While there are no actual guarantees with spine surgery, Dr. Arun Saroha comes pretty close to assuring a positive outcome of spine surgery due to expertise and experience with it. He has treated many complex spine surgery patients in the past successfully, which makes him one of the best spine surgeons in Delhi.