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Top 3 Reasons to Have Spine Surgery

We've seen over 60,000 patients at Virginia Spine Institute, and many of them never stepped foot in the OR. In fact, it's estimated that nearly 90% of our patients can be treated non-operatively with physical therapy, spinal injections, medication management, or a combination of these treatment options. So why would a patient ever need spinal surgery? I've compiled the top 3 reasons a patient may need surgical intervention to treat his or her back or neck pain. 

top 3 reasons to have spinal surgery
1. To take pressure off of nerves

Some conditions, including a disc herniation or spinal stenosis, compress the nerves within the spinal column which can lead to pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and other more severe symptoms. Spinal surgery is typically required with this condition to avoid permanent impairment. This can be accomplished through surgeries like a laminectomy, ALIF, or XLIF  

2. To stabilize an unstable spine

An unstable spine is defined as the inability of the spinal column to maintain its natural form under normal usage conditions. A healthy spine provides structure, protection, and support for the body, but an unstable spine can no longer hold together the spinal ligaments, muscles, disc and bones in such as way as to provide these essential functions. We see unstable spines in a lot of conditions including spinal fractures, spondylolisthesis, and even sometimes an extreme disc injury. Surgery is often required if symptoms progress to intractable back pain, leg pain, or significant neurologic problems from a pinched nerve. This is best achieved by fusing the unstable parts of the spine through an ALIF, PLIF, or Lateral Interbody Fusion

3. To realign a crooked spine

Some conditions, including scoliosis, kyphosis, and flat-back syndrome, affect the natural curvature of the spine and result in various impairments. Scoliosis and kyphosis are typically managed non-operatively through bracing and physical therapy, but in instances in which the spinal curvature exceeds a certain degree, surgical intervention is required to realign the spine. The same is true for flat-back syndrome if symptoms are not relieved through non-operative measures. 

As with any condition, a thorough evaluation is required to determine an appropriate course of treatment. Schedule today!

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