What Is Spinal Reconstruction Surgery?
Spinal reconstruction surgeries are medical procedures specifically designed to correct or alleviate painful spinal conditions due to a deformity or major misalignment. Reconstructive surgery is required when the damage or disease involves more than one level of the spinal column. The four levels of your spine, from top to bottom, are the:
When you rely on the expertise of an experienced spine surgeon, you get the most effective and most appropriate treatment for your condition. As performed at NU-Spine in Edison, NJ, spinal reconstruction aims to eliminate your back pain, correct the damage and get you back to your previous level of activity. There are two major types of reconstructive surgery:
- Minimally invasive reconstructive surgery is used to alleviate mild to moderate back pain by replacing damaged and diseased parts of the spine with artificial replacements. Minimally invasive spine surgery is a specialty of Branko Skovrlj. It’s the preferred procedure to treat trauma caused by mild injury or infection.
- Complex spinal reconstructive surgery is used primarily to treat complicated spinal curvature issues, such as scoliosis. Spinal injuries that result in severe disruptions of spinal vertebrae require spinal reconstruction and fusion surgery on extensive portions of your spine.
Do I Need Spinal Reconstruction Surgery?
For very mild cases, all you may need is non-surgical reconstructive spinal care. This involves wearing back braces and being very aware how you move, lift, twist and turn. You also may need to have a ready supply of pain medications, either over-the-counter or prescription, depending on your level of pain.
If you do need surgery, your spine doctor explains your options after an exam and diagnosis. If a surgical procedure can relieve your symptoms, Dr. Skovrlj describes what’s involved. His highly effective reconstructive surgical techniques to relieve pain and promote better mobility address common symptoms, such as:
- Moderate to severe chronic lower back pain
- Persistent neck pain and nerve damage
- Neurological pain caused by a spinal injury
- Spinal compression problems
- Nerve damage that causes numbness or weakness in your limbs
- Limited mobility issues caused by trauma or spinal abnormalities
- Loss of motor skills due to severe trauma or disease
In addition to scoliosis, spinal reconstruction surgery may be recommended to treat conditions such as:
- Spinal deformities, including thoracic deformity and lumbar deformity
- Cervical kyphosis, thoracic kyphosis and lumbar kyphosis
- Lumbar stenosis and cervical stenosis
- Failed back syndrome
What Are the Benefits of Minimally Invasive Spinal Reconstruction Surgery?
At the Edison, New Jersey NU-Spine facility, your spine doctor always prefers to do reconstructive surgery with the most minimally invasive techniques possible. While you undergo general anesthesia even for this surgery, the benefits of minimally invasive techniques are numerous. They include:
- Less blood loss
- Smaller incision scar
- Reduced pain after the surgery
- Less chance of infection
- Faster rehabilitation and recovery
Even when more than one area of your spine is treated, your surgeon carefully avoids the muscles and ligaments to reduce post-surgical pain even more. Dr. Skovrlj is a highly trained neurosurgeon who’s devoted his career to spine surgeries. He can repair your damaged spine with these life-altering procedures.
Is Spinal Reconstruction Surgery a Safe Option?
Spine surgery is far safer than doing nothing. If you believe you can solve your back problems by just getting some rest, you’re making a very costly mistake. When back problems occur, they don’t magically disappear overnight. Untreated, your persistent back pain will get worse. In fact, many reconstructive procedures are necessary because people ignored early symptoms.
So when you don’t act to catch back problems early, you’re only making it more difficult — and more painful — for yourself. If you allow conditions that require spinal reconstruction surgery to go untreated, the consequences can be severe. You may suffer such symptoms as:
- An inability to turn, twist and bend over
- Pain that interrupts your sleep
- An inability to walk unassisted by a walker or cane
- Sexual dysfunction or impotence
- Deterioration of vital organs
- An inability to carry heavy loads
- Weight gain from not being able to exercise
- Serious mental health problems, such as depression and suicidal feelings
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Spinal Reconstruction Surgery?
Whether you’ve undergone minimally invasive or complex spinal reconstruction surgery, you typically have to remain in the hospital for three to four days. How quickly you recover depends on how extensive your reconstruction was and how well you follow post-operative instructions. Following surgery, you can expect:
- Encouragement to begin walking within a day of the procedure
- The initial pain of surgery to be completely gone after the first month
- To need prescribed medication for only a week or so
- Physical therapy and exercise instructions that are extremely effective in controlling your post-operative pain and helping you regain full mobility
- To return to your full schedule and normal activities within about 90 days
- To be fully recovered in about six months