Back pain is one of the most common pain complaints for adults in the United States, according to research reported by the National Institutes of Health. While many sources of back pain clear up in a few days or weeks, chronic back pain is any pain that persists for more than 12 weeks, often even after an initial injury or underlying cause has been treated.
“The magnitude of the burden from low back pain has grown worse in recent years,” the NIH says.
In fact, back pain is considered the third most burdensome condition in the U.S. One reason is that there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Depending on the severity of the pain, its location and what the underlying cause is, patients may try treatments including physical therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, over-the-counter medications, short-term courses of opioids or corticosteroid injections.
Unfortunately, at times these treatments will prove unsuccessful. When they do, patients can consider opting for spine surgery to relieve their pain. Luckily, modern advancements today offer minimally disruptive surgeries which can be performed as outpatient procedures with short recovery times.
Here is why chronic back pain sufferers should consider asking their doctors about ultrasonic spine surgery.
Minimal disruption of bones, joints and other tissues
The goal of spine surgery is to reduce pressure and pinching in the spinal cord and the surrounding nerves. Traditionally, this involved open procedures with large incisions, the removal of a significant amount of bone from the vertebrate or herniated disk, and possibly spinal fusion using bone grafts and metal rods and screws. This method sometimes resulted in irritation or damage to surrounding soft tissues and increased blood loss.
“The spinning and increased heat production when drilling with diamond burrs under the microscope may cause damage to the soft tissues such as the dura, nerve roots, the cord and vessels,” according to research in BioMed Research International.
On the other hand, ultrasonic spine surgery involves a small incision and the use of operating microscopes and a high-speed drill.
“Once at the source of your pain, advanced ultrasonic instruments precisely sculpt away bone and disc to restore your spine’s normal anatomy, decompressing nerves and relieving pain,” Sonospine explains.
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons points out benefits of this procedure:
· Better cosmetic results (with incisions as small as several millimeters)
· Less blood loss
· Reduced risk of muscle damage
· Reduced risk of infection and postoperative pain
· Diminished reliance on pain medications after surgery
Some minimally invasive surgeries may require only local anesthesia, eliminating the risk of adverse reactions to general anesthesia.
Offers pain relief for difficult-to-treat conditions
Many times, non-surgical treatments work to sufficiently control a patient’s pain. However, certain chronic conditions do not respond well to over-the-counter medications and may require long-term approaches like ultrasonic spine surgery. Neck and back conditions that generally respond well to this minimally invasive technique include the following:
· Spinal stenosis
· Foraminal stenosis
· Failed back surgery syndrome
· Degenerative disc disease
· Bone spurs
· Herniated discs
Only a qualified doctor can determine whether a patient’s condition would benefit from ultrasonic spine surgery.
Short recovery time
Traditional spine surgeries, such as laminectomy and fusion surgery, are major surgeries with extended recovery times.
“It takes at least 3 to 4 months after surgery for bones to heal well, and healing may continue for at least a year,” according to MedlinePlus.
Typical senior patients may require four to six months of recovery before returning to work.
Ultrasonic spine surgery procedures are outpatient, same day surgeries with recoveries as short as six to eight weeks.
“Post-surgery results are constantly ranked excellent only four weeks after surgery,” according to Sonospine. “The advanced technology of surgical ultrasound allows our surgeons to address even the most complex cases to return our patients to the life they once enjoyed.”
For more information on ultrasonic spine surgery or to schedule a consultation, visit sonospinesurgery.com.