June 30, 2021

Who is a Candidate for Spine Surgery?

Spine surgery isn’t always the answer to spine discomfort and pain. However, some patients truly benefit from one of the procedures under this umbrella, which is why you should consider if you might be a good candidate for spine surgery.

Spine surgery can be a saving grace if you have been dealing with long, uninterrupted bouts of pain with little to no relief. However, we offer minimally invasive surgery, which is less damaging to muscles and soft tissue, less pain after surgery, quicker recovery, and return to daily activities. These surgeries are typically outpatient where you go home the same day or the next day.

Here at Mid Atlantic Orthopedic Associates, we are happy to offer you a consultation on spine surgery, including which — if any — surgical option would be best for your current situation. Our provider Richard A. Klein, MD, is a board-certified and celebrated orthopedic surgeon with a wealth of experience who wants to help you begin to feel better quickly as well as safely.

What we mean by spine surgery

The term spine surgery can be misleading, as it may imply that a surgeon performs the same treatment on all patients with complaints of spinal problems. In truth, spine surgery is actually a blanket term for several different surgical procedures, all of which involve operating on the spine.

For example, a discectomy requires the removal of a damaged spinal disc while a spinal fusion entails grafting two or more vertebrae together. These two different treatments — as well as the other types of spinal surgeries — have different purposes, methods, and recovery times. Learn more about these different spine surgeries.

A good candidate for spine surgery

Once you’ve researched the different types of spine surgeries, how can you know if you’re a good candidate for spine surgery? Below are some of the things you will need to be or do in order to be a good candidate for one of these procedures.

Diagnosis of a spinal condition

First off, just having pain or discomfort isn’t a reason to skip straight to surgery. You will need to have been diagnosed with one of the conditions that can actually be treated by spinal surgery, including:

  • Bone spurs
  • Arthritis
  • Kyphosis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Herniated discs
  • Spondylolisthesis

There may be other conditions that could make you a candidate for surgery, but according to this video for Spine-Health, the use of surgery to solve a problem requires identification of the issue causing the problem. Surgery can’t be a solution for undefined pain with no understood cause.

Having attempted other treatments

Even after you’ve been diagnosed with a problem that can be treated surgically, doctors recommend trying another treatment for about three months before considering surgery. Your spine team may decide during your evaluation that other treatment options should be tried before surgery is considered. These may include:

  • Spinal bracing
  • NSAIDs for pain management
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy

Being prepared for surgery

Surgery is a major step, as we have illustrated here. As such, it’s important that you are prepared for the necessary instructions you will have to follow before and after your surgery. For example, you may be asked to abstain from certain items like alcohol or some medications before your surgery.

After surgery, the National Library of Medicine outlines the proper care techniques you’ll need to follow. Naturally, these vary greatly based on the type of spine surgery you receive.

Spine surgery for spinal recovery

If you think these specifications fit you and your current situation — and you believe spine surgery could be the answer to your health problems — call 732-339-3113 or book an appointment online at our East Brunswick, NJ office. We want to help you find out if spine surgery could be the best option for your needs.

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