All You Need To Know About Spinal Operations in Germany
Spinal surgery is one of the most complicated type of operations performed today. This is a highly specialized procedure that is used to treat the whole gamut of problems with spinal cord. Spinal surgery serves to eliminate spinal stenosis, damage and fracture of vertebrae, degenerative instabilities, spine tumors, scoliosis, and many other abnormalities. Centers of spine and joint treatment in Germany offer a wide range of surgical treatment options and help to eliminate pain and other unpleasant symptoms.
German doctors practice individual approach to treatment considering patient’s complaints, their detailed medical hosting, physical examination and various visualization methods (for example, radiography, magnetic resonance image (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). Additionally, electrophysiological examination is performed to define the exact causes of backache, and to set a precise diagnosis and treatment plan. Along with conservative treatment methods, back surgery is required to treat some certain back diseases.
At the moment, German clinics introduce new standards of treatment techniques, for instance, minimally invasive surgery that ensures sparing treatment with minimal side effects.
What is a back surgery?
Also called as “vertebroplasty”, back surgery in Germany often implies using minimally invasive methods. The operation implies injection of bone cement in the space between the fractured or damaged vertebrae, or in vertebrae themselves to restore normal mobility and functionality.
When do I need a vertebroplasty?
This procedure is made in the following cases:
- Disintegration and fracture of vertebrae caused by inuries and traumas;
- Tumor formation;
- Prolapse or misplacement of intervertebral discs;
- Serious symptoms of spondylolysis – considerable fracture of one or several vertebrae;
- Hernias between discs;
- Spinal traumas;
- Instability of vertebrae.
If a person has one of these conditions, backbone stabilization is required: it allows fixing vertebrae so that to eliminate pain. The surgery can also be complemented with conservative treatment options and lifestyle changes. For example, bed rest or physical therapeutic techniques can help to restore health and improve strength of vertebrae. Muscle relaxants and anesthetics may also relieve pain and unpleasant symptoms. Please note that the doctor makes decision concerning treatment after organizing all necessary analyses.
How back surgery in Germany is performed?
Visual examination only is not enough to state a precise diagnosis. Even the most skilled and experienced doctors require fully-fledged clinical examination. Before spinal surgery, several examinations are performed.
First, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with contrast agents is made. It is preferable to X-ray imaging, because such method of visualization shows the minutest details and zones (conditions of the spinal tissues, nerves, the spinal cord and intervertebral discs). X-ray imaging is useful at initial stages of examination only.
Functional radiography of back can be useful: this is a bit different form of X-ray imaging that shows vertebrae location towards each other during unbending and bending. That helps doctors to define the degree of instability in the sections of the spinal cord. Computer-aided tomography with X-rays also shows different abnormalities of the spinal cord.
Vertebrae stabilization is another kind of spinal surgery in Germany that isn’t equally suitable for all patients with spinal fractures. Today, advanced surgeons use synthetic non-cement products that don’t require heating before being injected in vertebrae.
In fact, back surgery is used in the last case, when conservative treatment methods cannot make any difference, and treatment requires more serious approach. Pretty often, back surgery implies use of support constructions made of titan and its alloys. Such devices ensure back stability and maximal comfort. When the treated section is stabilized, transpedicular instrumentation includes screws that are fixed via vertebra pedicle.
Possible risks of spine operation
As any other surgery, spinal operation implies some risks, but is usually normally tolerated by most patients without side effects. Theoretically, in the same day a patient can move without assistance, and positive results are already noticeable. Only 1-3% of people have minor negative outcomes after vertebroplasty. Sometimes, fever, bleeding and nerve damage occur. Experienced German doctors take care of all postoperative complications.
Back surgery in German clinics
When conservative therapies don’t bring any considerable results, the spinal surgery is a must. German clinics offer the whole spectrum of surgical treatment methods starting from minimally invasive disc surgeries and finishing by open operations implying installation of stabilizing structures. Many German doctors perform such advanced procedures as vertebroplasty that serve to treat structural fractures of vertebrae.
Be sure: being a patient of German spinal centers means you’re in safe hands, and pain management will be efficient as never before. German centers help people with the different problems:
- Disc hernias;
- Fractures of vertebrae;
Operation for discal hernia
In case of disc hernias, inner tissues get damaged, or intervertebral fissure occurs: it makes vertebral pulp bulge into the spinal cord. It leads to constriction of the spinal cord and nervous roots and causes serious pain that can spread over the limbs. That leads to some sort of low sensibility, poor motor functioning and problems with reflexes. Blood flow to the nervous roots is restricted, and it may even cause partial paralysis.
Hernias can be successfully diagnosed with the help of computer tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance image (MRI). It should be noted that discal hernia excision is not obligatory in all cases: if a person does not experience serious neurological symptoms (there are no defects), conservative methods can be enough to treat the condition.
Traditional ways of treatment can be the following:
- pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs;
- infiltration of joints;
- lumbar plexus analgesia.
All of these procedures are controlled with X-ray imaging or CAT. When periradicular treatment is performed, doctors inject cortisone in the nervous roots to reduce pain and relieve symptoms.
Traditional and micro-invasive spinal surgery
Today, German doctors prefer microsurgical discectomy to usual open operation. Besides, hernias between discs are eliminated with the help of minimally invasive methods, as well.
Another alternative option for discal hernia curing is endoscopic discectomy. In this case, a patient is administered local anesthesia, and a surgeon uses an endoscope with camera and HD video transmission to see the inside of the spinal cord. Miscroinstruments are used to perform all necessary manipulations: bulging zone of vertebral pulp is cut out with their help. But this technique is not suitable for all types of spine hernias. For instance, it’s inappropriate for torn pulp segments of the spine, and if hernia is located in sacral or lumbar sections of the spine.
German doctors widely use artificial disc implants that have a lot of benefits. First, they feature great biological design that allows fully restoring mobility and eliminating pain. Intervertebral discs are particularly useful in the area of the lumbar spine.
Surgical treatment for spinal stenosis
Operation for spinal stenosis is usually made when the person experiences degenerative alterations (wearing) of the spine conditioned by aging, heavy load and some other factors. However, these are not the only causes of this disease. Spinal stenosis can also be caused by:
- protrusion of discs;
- degenerative wearing;
- bone overgrowth of the spinal cord;
- arthrosis of facet joints.
Surgical treatment can be done with one of the following ways:
- Lumbar decompression together with fusion. This operation implies dilation of the back spinal and fixation of spine with the help of special constructions A damaged intervertebral disc is replaced by a titanium cage.
- Ventral nucleotomy added with fusion. In such case, a doctor performs microsurgical extraction of the disc, inserts implants and joins vertebrae to form the gaps between the joints.
- Ventral unco-foraminotomy complemented by fusion. Spherical cutter is used to make vertebra larger, and the damaged vertebra is stabilized.
- Intra-disc electrothermal treatment. The surgeon inserts a needle inside the damaged intervertebral disc and heats it gradually. That boosts strength of collagen treads in the intervertebral disc and destroys nerves inside.
- Decompression and substitution of intervertebral disc serves to enlarge the spine and substitute the damaged disc with a prosthesis.
- Corporectomy with spondylosyndesis implies removal of vertebrae together with the junction of the nearby vertebrae. Further on, the space is filled up with a titanium vertebrae.
- Straightening spondylosyndesis together with fusion is used when multiple vertebrae must be replaced.
When the mobility of the spinal cord should be preserved (for instance, dynamic stabilization of the spinal cord is required), a surgeon uses a dynamic implant that helps to stabilize vertebrae while maintaining its mobility.
Spinal surgery for scoliosis treatment
Scoliosis operation in Germany has the following aims and approaches:
- Normalization of cord curvature
- Fixation of the spinal cord by implants.
- Elimination of rotation.
- Stabilization of the spine.
When a vertebral fracture occurs, surgeons can apply various methods.
Spondylosyndesis means that two or several vertebral bodies are blocked. This is a widespread way of spinal stabilization that implies usage of rods and screws. This approach is also practiced to cure slipping of vertebrae.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive method. A specific surgical balloon is put into the damaged vertebrae and is filled with bone cement. Sometimes the fractured vertebraeis fixed with medical cement solely.
The way of treatment is chosen based on patient’s individual diagnosis. If you want to get rid of chronic serious pain, you should visit the doctor as soon as possible. In about 90% of cases, the spinal pain may be eliminated even without a spinal surgery. Many conservative ways of curing (or their combination) are efficient for eliminating the disease and pain.