Spinal trauma or spinal cord trauma is a medical emergency which require immediate medical care. If left untreated, it may cause long-term effects. Mild to moderate injuries can be cured with medications and other treatments. Surgery is generally performed in following cases:
- To remove tissue or fluid that presses on the spinal cord
- To fuse broken spinal bones or place spinal braces
- To remove disk fragments, bone fragments or foreign objects
- To realign the spinal bones
- To release pressure from the injured area
Surgery for spinal trauma is most commonly done by endoscopy or minimally invasive techniques that require only local anaesthesia. These are safer and faster techniques that allow early healing with less damage.
There are number of surgical options for spinal cord injury depending on the location, severity and type of the injury. But before narrowing down on the surgery, various diagnostic tests are performed to thoroughly understand the abnormality and have a clear image of injury. The diagnostic tests include X-ray, CT scan, and MRI etc. of the spine. If the injury is not severe, the surgeon may suggest non-surgical treatment but in severe cases surgeon opts for any of the following surgeries to treat spinal cord injury:
- Micro-Endo discectomy: A surgery generally performed with minimally invasive technique to remove a small part of the ruptured disc.
- In cervical region complete disc is removed and is almost always followed by fusion.
- In thoracic and lumbar region a part of disc which is causing compression is removed, sometimes a near total removal of disc with fusion is required, depending upon stability of spine.
- Spinal fusion: A procedure to fuse or join two or more vertebrae in the spine. Spinal fusion surgeries are of different types including:
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
- Posterior lumbar interbody fusion
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
- Minimally invasive spinal fusion: A minimally invasive technique for lower back pain due to degenerative disc disease or contained disc herniation caused by spinal trauma. Here a para-spinal trans muscular approach is used to decrease the morbidity and early restoration of the daily life
- Surgical decompression: It is a generalized term given to procedures that relieve symptoms caused by pressure, or compression, on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. Different kinds of surgical decompression methods are:
- Foraminotomy is removal of bone and other tissue of spine to expand the openings for the nerve roots to exit the spinal cord
- Laminotomy is removal of just a section of the lamina of the spinal canal
- Laminectomy is removal entire lamina of the spinal canal
- Corpectomy is removal of the body of a vertebra, as well as the disks
- Laminoplasty is the reconstruction of the laminar arch to increase the space available for the spinal cord
- Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty: Minimally invasive procedure to treat pain and other symptoms caused by spinal fracture.
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: Treatment option for neck problems due to fractures, spinal instability and herniated disc.
- Spinal Cord Stimulation: It is the procedure of surgical implantation ofa spinal cord stimulator under the skin to send electrical impulses to control or relieve chronic spinal pain.
It is very important to take proper care as the surgery is done in one of the most important part of human body. Follow-up therapies and medications will be based on the kind and severity of the surgery.