Lumbar back surgery is a corrective course of action that may be recommended for lower back problems after more conservative treatments have been exhausted. While spinal surgery is typically seen as a last resort, the lumbar spine degenerates faster and requires surgical intervention more frequently than any other part of the spine, mainly because of the lower back’s great range of motion and heavy weight burden.
The lumbar spine – commonly referred to as the lower back – is comprised of the five (or in some people, six) largest vertebrae in the back. The lumbar segment supports the majority of a person’s body weight and the soft discs in between each vertebra support flexibility in lower back. Because of the daily stress placed on the lumbar spine, the risk of swollen or herniated discs is exacerbated, and these can press upon the complex system of nerves in the spine, leading to painful lower back problems. The most typical symptoms of lower back problems are:
- Chronic lower back pain, soreness, and stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and tingling in the legs and feet
- Other symptoms of radiculopathy
In normal cases, these symptoms can be managed at home with a conservative treatment plan which can include the application of ice or heat, stretching and strengthening exercises, pain medication, epidural steroid injections, and more. In the event that the patient does not respond to conservative treatments, a surgical alternative may be presented by the physician. Lumbar surgery is also an option for patients suffering from extensive nerve compression or chronic spine conditions like degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.
There are two approaches to lumbar back surgery currently available to patients: traditional open back surgery and the newer endoscopic surgery. In recent years, endoscopic procedures have become an extremely popular alternative because open back surgery is massively invasive, requires hospitalization, involves a long incision, and requires months of recovery time. Unlike open back surgery, endoscopic lumbar surgery, cervical surgery, thoracic surgery is minimally invasive and is actually an outpatient procedure. The result is less pain, quicker recovery, and fewer risks.
The award-winning surgeons at Laser Spine Institute (LSI) offer a number of endoscopic laser procedures that have been designed to help people find meaningful pain relief without the drawbacks of open back surgery. Contact LSI today to learn more about all of your options and for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.