Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
A potential candidate for spinal fusion undergoes a long series of medical tests. In patients with scoliosis, x rays are taken over many months or years to track progress of the curve. Patients with disk herniation or degeneration may receive x rays,...
MRI studies, or other tests to determine the location and extent of injury.
Patients in good health may donate several units of their own blood in preparation for surgery. This may be done between six weeks and one week prior to the operation. The patient will probably be advised to take iron supplements to help replace lost iron in the donated blood. Sunburn or sores on the back should be avoided prior to surgery because they increase the risk of infection.
A variety of medical tests will be done shortly before surgery to ensure that the patient is in good health and prepared for the rigors of surgery. Blood and urine tests, x rays, and possibly photographs documenting the curvature will be done. An electroencephalogram (EEG) may be performed to test nerve function along the spine.
The patient will be admitted to the hospital the evening before surgery. No food is allowed after midnight, in order to clear the gastrointestinal tract, which will be immobilized by anesthesia.
For most of us, pain is something that occurs when we bang our foot or burn our finger; however, for some people pain is an unrelenting source of anguish that they must live with daily. This video shows a new and specific technique for pain control called spinal cord stimulation. Spinal cord stimulation is a neurosurgical technique in which a thin electrode is inserted in the spinal cord up to the brain and stimulates nerve fibers do disrupt pain pathways.
Spinal fusion, also known as spondylodesis or spondylosyndesis, is a surgical technique used to combine two or more vertebrae. Supplementary bone tissue (either autograft or allograft) is used in conjunction with the body's natural osteoblastic processes. This procedure is used primarily to eliminate the pain caused by abnormal motion of the vertebrae by immobilizing the vertebrae themselves.
Select comparative data from 1999 to 2006 include an 11 percent increase in the number of neurosurgeons with full-time academic appointments and a 6 percent increase in the number of female neurosurgeons.
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