No one wants to have back surgery. But if your pain and limitations have reached the point where you find yourself considering this option, then have a conversation with your spinal medicine specialist at the Southeastern Spine Institute. The advantages of improving your quality of life may outweigh the risks and downtime associated with even minimally invasive back surgery.
If you decide to move forward, it’s important to understand which procedures are best suited to your condition and needs. Corpectomy and discectomy are two of the surgical procedures available to you, and there are times that both may be necessary. Before you give your consent, however, gather information about these procedures — and differences between the two — to know what you’re getting yourself into.
One Supports the Other
A corpectomy is a surgical procedure intended to lessen the compression on your spine and nerves. To do this, your spinal surgeon removes a small portion of the bony section that makes up your spinal column. It may also be necessary to take out the discs that are next to, or in line with, the sections of removed bone.
Removing the discs is known as a discectomy. And it’s essential to replace what has been taken out — to keep the bones from rubbing together, which would cause more discomfort than you already feel. To replace the discs, your doctor reconstructs your spinal column with the use of a bone graft.
A bone graft is a procedure in which bone or bone substitutes are used in place of the original bone material. These bones can come from you, an organ donor and in some cases even be synthetic. Fusions, screws, rods or cages may have to be used to strengthen or reinforce the grafts.
Which Procedure Is Right for You
Both of these procedures can effectively lessen your back pain, but which you need is determined by an accurate diagnosis. You and your doctor must fully understand the nature of your back pain to choose the best treatment option. Just remember that the two are very often used together to fully address related spinal issues.
The corpectomy is often used in cases where bone spurs are an issue. Bone spurs are often, but not always, the result of aging. They happen when the body tries to repair itself by building extra bone. The resulting spurs can drastically narrow your spinal canal, causing intense pain and pressure. The corpectomy can also be used to treat bone spurs sticking out from the edges of normal bone that make direct contact with nerves and other bones.
The discectomy is most often used in the treatment of discs that have herniated. This means the disc has begun to slip, rupture, bulge or prolapse. This occurs when the softer material inside begins trying to push through the much harder exterior.
Talk to Your Doctor
The doctors at Southeastern Spine Institute are highly knowledgeable, experienced and kind. They always recommend the least invasive procedures first, but are willing and highly competent to do what’s best to relieve your pain.
Only after you’ve tried more conservative procedures, such as physical therapy and injections, you’re your doctor discuss back surgery. Whether you undergo corpectomy or include discectomy is entirely dependent on your needs. At the Southeastern Spine Institute, what matters is what will get you back on your feet and back to the quality of life you deserve, free of back pain.