When is back surgery crucial? You may ask. According to most pain management doctors, surgery of the back can be suggested when a patient’s pain has not improved after enduring several months of non-surgical treatment. Additionally, if a victim’s daily activities are skipped due to back pain that does not respond to medicines, he or she could try surgery. Surgical treatments for a bad back are different based on their level of extensiveness. You will find that a person who needs to treat a degenerative disc disease via posterolateral surgery might take a few hours in the operating room and require more recovery time.
On the other hand, a person who is seeking treatment for back pain caused by a herniated disc can do well with the less invasive microdiscectomy surgery. Enduring endless backache is not prudent if a back operation can help. This type of surgery is not carried out by just any surgeon; it is done by an orthopedic surgeon. Prior to seeking their help, it is wise to know more about this medical doctor. So, read on to learn more.
Who is an orthopedic surgeon?
The medical expert who treats all sorts of musculoskeletal system issues is called and orthopedic surgeon. This doctor is committed to offering proper diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of trauma, diseases and conditions that affect your bones, ligaments, joints, nerves, tendons, and muscles. Although orthopedics are well-versed with every aspect of the musculoskeletal system, most of them prefer to specialize. Thus, there are specialists who treat problems affecting your shoulder, hand and elbow, foot and ankle, knee, hip or spine. In such a case, it would be prudent to select the doctor who provides treatment for back pain. If you have a bone tumor, the right specialist is an oncologist and if you have a sports injury, you need an orthopedic who offers sports medicine.
Education background and training
A qualified and competent orthopedic surgeon boasts extensive training in excellent diagnosis and non-surgical and surgical treatment of musculoskeletal system issues. By the time a doctor qualifies to become a surgeon, he or she has studied for a total of fourteen years. In other words, they have spent four years in a college or university, four years in a medical school, five years of focused study in an orthopedic residency at a renowned medical center, and one year of specialty training. Hence, this pain management doctor is very well educated and able to treat your stubborn back pain.
As well as years of schooling, an orthopedic surgeon must acquire board certification after completing their education program. And to become a certified medical professional in their field, orthopedic surgeons must endure a peer-review process and perform oral and written tests provided by the ABOS (American Board of Orthopedic Surgery). If they pass, it means that they have powerfully demonstrated their expertise in orthopedics and are ready to begin practicing. Every ten years, these pain management professionals must obtain their certification again. To pass their re-certification examinations, these musculoskeletal experts must keep on studying and keeping in touch with current orthopedic skills and knowledge. So when hiring, you are required to either hire a board-certified professional or a person who is in the process of obtaining certification.
Who does this treatment for back pain expert treat?
First of all, an orthopedic doctor can treat anyone regardless of their age, gender, or career. No wonder there are different specialists in this field of medicine. Secondly, they can treat several different conditions and diseases that affect musculoskeletal components like muscles, tendons and ligaments. Whether these are joint pains, bone fractures, bone tumors or disease like osteoporosis or arthritis, an orthopedic surgeon is the best choice. The area of your body that is attacked by these health issues does not matter because there are adequate specialists.
What exactly do orthopedic physicians treat?
As aforesaid, these health professionals concentrate on matters that affect our musculoskeletal system. Sometimes they use medicines, exercise and alternative cures to try and cure a painful back or another area of our bodies. When these fail, surgery is picked as the last resort. Spinal problems that an orthopedic surgeon can treat include back pain, sciatica pain, ruptured discs and scoliosis. They are also able to cure backs that have been damaged by osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and tumors. Other conditions that these treatment for back pain surgeons are able to treat include fractures, dislocations growth abnormalities, muscular dystrophy, sports-related and work-related trauma, knee issues, sprains and strains, unequal leg length, bursitis, tendon injuries and torn cartilages and so on.
Common kinds of surgeries performed by orthopedists
There are several sorts of surgical operations that these pain management specialists perform. The most prevalent kinds are:
- Fusion – This type of surgery involves a process (welding process) of fusing bones together with internal devices and bone grafts so as to heal into one strong bone.
- Osteotomy – This is done to correct a bone deformity by slicing and repositioning it.
- Arthroscopy – This procedure makes use of certain devices to view, diagnose and cure a problem that is inside a joint.
- Joint replacement surgery – An orthopedic surgeon can offer a partial, total or revision joint replacement surgical service to a patient who has joints that have been damaged by arthritis. The natural joint is often replaced with an artificial thing called prosthesis.
- Internal fixation surgery – This one is used to hold fractured pieces of a bone in a proper position through pins, metal plates and screws. This allows it to heal well.
- Soft tissue repair surgery – This kind of surgery is used to repair damaged tendons and ligaments(soft tissue)
Vertebrosplasty of the spine
In just one year, the U.S sees up to 700,000 vertebral body fractures triggered by osteoporosis and 100,000 of these cases results to hospital admissions. Pain due to a compressive spinal fracture is capable of leaving you bedridden and in danger of pneumonia attacks and DVT (deep vein thrombosis) for more than four weeks. While in the past doctors had only the choice of pain killers and hormone replacement therapies, now they do vertebroplasty. This procedure can offer impressive pain relief. Sometimes it is applied when there are bone tumors and metastases of the spine. All the same, vertebroplasty does not help much in the treatment of disc herniation or bulges, spinal stenosis, nerve root compression or degenerative spinal disease. Usually, vertebroplasty treatment for back pain is done under intravenous sedation and local anesthesia.
Sometimes doctors administer prophylactic antibiotics prior to the procedure. So a patient is asked to lie on their belly and then computer monitors are linked to examine the blood pressure, oxygenation and heart rate. Next, their skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then covered with disinfected towels. With the X-ray as the guide, a needle is cautiously inserted via the back skin into the area affected by a compressive spinal fracture. At the same time, the treatment for back pain doctor might carry out a biopsy by removing a small tissue for analysis at the laboratory.
As well as this, a venogram procedure might be done using a certain type of dye that is injected using a needle into the bone so as to view the venous spinal drainage and allow proper positioning of the needle. Then, what is known as bone cement (polymethylmethacrylate, PMMA) is gradually infused into the spine with the best x-ray guidance. A single fractured vertebra should be filled with less than 5cc of cement. After this, the needle is removed and the process is carried out again if there is another compressive spinal fracture. Just one hour is needed to carry out this procedure. This treatment for back pain provides relief in up to ninety percent of patients in just about 24 hours.
When to see an orthopedic surgeon and things to expect
The first thing that your back surgeon will do when you visit them in their offices is to perform an interview session where they will ask various questions, including one about your previous medical tests and records. After this, they will do a physical examination of your back and carry out blood tests, imaging tests and/or X-rays to understand your back pain well. While surgery is an option picked for most orthopedic conditions and traumas, your doctor has several other options. So they will discuss with you and select the method that is best suited for your case.
Locating a perfect pain management surgeon
So far you know who an orthopedic surgeon is and the roles they play in their medical field. But how can you select the best among many? This can obviously be a daunting task when you are feeling so much pain in your back. Luckily, though, many orthopedic doctors can be found on the internet. You only have to carry out a thorough internet search while reading widely to end up choosing the right treatment for back pain professional. Additionally, get ready to assess the doctors’ credentials, background, availability, costs and more via thorough interviews.
Besides the internet, you can rely on referrals from the people you already know. Here is the right way to do this. First, talk to your primary care doctor as he will most likely know a great orthopedic surgeon in your locality or a big network of surgeons from all over the country. Second, talk to your friends, co-workers, and relatives about this as some of them might have had a back surgery before and others might know someone who has endured surgery. Thirdly, look for a professional surgeon via the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the American Medical Association. These two organizations allow people to search their online directories by various parameters: zip code, state, city and specialty.
Lastly, some medical review websites provide first-hand doctors’ reviews and allow people to freely search for reviewed doctors in their area. Through such websites, you will be able to see the education background and expertise levels of treatment for back pain surgeons. Concerning the surgeons’ availability and cost, focus on doctors who can accept your medical insurance cover. In other words, look for a doctor who is your insurer’s providers list and their qualifications. It might be easier to call your insurer and ask whether they are affiliated with the orthopedic surgeon you have located. A great surgeon boasts a MOC (Maintenance of Certification) status via the American Board of Orthopedic surgeons.
Besides checking a doctor’s medical background and competence levels, you might want to visit their clinic to know if they have up-to-date equipment and health practices. One thing you shouldn’t forget to ask is about post-surgical complications rates and patient mortality rates. Prior to finding the right doctor, you might have to schedule an appointment with each one of them so as to perform interviews. The most educated, experienced, polite, articulate and affordable surgeon should your final choice. And in this case, we would highly recommend Dr. Michael Nguyen, M.D.
So far you know that an orthopedic surgeon is a health professional who is so educated on matters related to our musculoskeletal system. They can treat a lot of health issues that affect your spine, including tumors, fractures, sprains, strains, arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, ruptured discs, herniated discs, dislocations and other spinal disorders. They are capable of offering non-surgical and surgical treatment for back pain and other areas of your body. So when you are considering spinal surgery, you will mostly do better with an orthopedic surgeon. While a neurosurgeon has the same level of training and competence as an orthopedic, sometimes you might want to choose the latter because of their sub-specializations in areas such as cervical spine, lumbar spine, pediatrics, hand surgery, wrist surgery, and knee surgery and so on.
Neurosurgeons can be a great pick when your medical disorder involves not just your spine or spinal cord, but also your intracranial and intraspinal vasculature, nerves and brain. Since orthopedic physicians specialize in the diagnosis and cure of nearly all bone and joint problems, they are the best choice when looking for the top treatment for back pain doctors.