What to expect prior to minimally invasive stabilization surgery
If you are considering spinal fusion to help treat your chronic back pain, it can be expected that you are feeling slightly apprehensive about undergoing such a complex procedure. In fact, most patients that we treat for chronic neck and back pain admit to being nervous prior to the surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we understand that considering a spinal fusion can be daunting.
Typically, patients who undergo a fusion surgery have already tried several weeks or months of conservative pain treatment with no lasting results. Surgery is often considered the last resort option for many people who suffer from debilitating pain daily. If you are searching for information about spinal fusion, you are most likely searching for a little ray of hope that you can get back to your normal life.
We are here to walk with you every step of the way and help to provide you with the information you need to make the best decision about your treatment options. Part of combatting the fear that surrounds spinal fusion surgery is educating patients about what is involved in the surgery process and what patients can expect before and after the procedure. As you continue to research spinal fusions, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time with questions or concerns.
Spinal fusion offered at Laser Spine Institute — minimally invasive stabilization surgery
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back fusion.^ Our minimally invasive stabilization procedure is performed through a small incision, sparing the surrounding muscles and tissues from being cut or disrupted during the process. Once the spine is accessed, the surgeon will remove the damaged disc that is compressing a nerve in the spinal cord and causing you pain. After the disc is removed, an implant will be inserted into the empty disc slot to immediately stabilize the spine. Additional implants or bone grafts may be needed if a condition has worsened with time.
Prior to your surgery, you will receive a call from a member of our team instructing you on what to expect during your patient experience at Laser Spine Institute. Leading up to your surgery, you will meet with your surgeon and nurses to undergo some simple medical examinations to prepare you for the surgical procedure. Here is what you can expect:
- Patient evaluation. On your first day at our surgery center, you will be scheduled for a patient evaluation. During your evaluation, our medical staff will review your medical history, including any medications you are currently taking and prior surgeries you have undergone. Our team will also perform a physical examination, which may include blood work, an EKG and additional testing. The purpose of your physical examination is to determine if you are still a good candidate for our surgery.
- Diagnostic imaging. If you have an MRI that was taken less than six months prior to your surgery date, we recommend that you bring a copy of your MRI with you to our facility. If you do not have a recent MRI, our diagnostic team can perform an MRI or an additional X-ray for you. If the Laser Spine Institute facility you are visiting does not have an MRI or X-ray service available, we will find a third-party medical facility to perform these tasks for you during your stay with us.
- MRI discussion. Before your surgery, you will meet with one of our physicians to review your medical history, discuss your symptoms and confirm your specific condition. If your physician confirms that you are a candidate for our procedures, a surgical order will then be issued. This will also be an opportunity for you to discuss any questions or concerns you have about the surgery with the physician. In the event that your symptoms and medical history are not associated with a spinal condition, a physician may also order neurological testing to determine the next course of action to treat your pain and discomfort.
- Selective nerve root block (SNRB). After reviewing your imaging, your physician may require additional testing to determine the exact location of your pain. This is done through a selective nerve root block (SNRB) which uses targeted injections of a numbing agent such as lidocaine and a steroidal anti-inflammatory to cut off pain signals that are traveling from a nerve root to the brain. This allows for temporary pain relief, which is able to confirm that a particular nerve root is the source of your pain and discomfort.
- Spine Care Consultant. Immediately following your MRI discussion, if you have not been ordered additional tests, you will meet with your Spine Care Consultant to go over a summary of your previous appointments and to discuss the itinerary and guidelines for your upcoming surgery and postoperative care. This is your last appointment before your surgery, so be sure to ask questions and gather all of the answers you need to feel confident about your procedure.
Throughout your entire patient experience, our caring team will be with you to guide you through what to expect and to help answer any questions you have along the way. If you would like more information about the minimally invasive stabilization surgeries we offer, reach out to our team today. Through a free MRI review,* we can determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures and help guide you on your journey to wellness.