Minimally Invasive Solutions!
Back problems are almost an inevitable part of walking upright. Time and wear and tear lead to difficulties in 90 percent of the population. If back and neck problems occur your doctor may refer you to a neurosurgeon to assess and manage a spinal disorder.
Two neurosurgeons on staff at Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth, Dr. Alan Murphy and Dr. David Dubuisson, try conservative approaches first when possible after diagnosing the ailment or injury. Dr. Murphy said. “Many patients will respond well to non-surgical treatments, such as physical therapy, medication or pain management techniques.”
For those who do need surgery, these two board certified neurosurgeons have brought many new techniques to Beth Israel Deaconess - Plymouth. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive, which uses smaller incisions. The result is that patients have less pain and recover from surgery faster.
There are several minimally invasive options for patients with lower back, or lumbar spine, ailments. These include microdiscectomy and laminotomy. The techniques decompress spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal which can crowd and pinch nerves, or herniated discs, the bulging of the disks between the vertebrae. The doctors also use small incisions and precision instruments for lumbar fusion and the insertion of supports to stabilize the lumbar spine.
The newest procedure to relieve the nerves pinched by spinal stenosis is called X-Stop. The procedure relieves pain by placing a small spacer between two of the vertebrae to keep them from pinching the nerves.
Kyphoplasty is another minimally invasive option for patients who have a collapsed vertebra, often due to a fall, osteoporosis or cancer. Kyphoplasty uses two small balloons to restore the height of the vertebra. The cavity created by the ballones is then filled with special cement. The procedure usually relieves pain and allows patients to resume normal activities.
“No more pain, thank heavens!” said Ruth Lowry of Plymouth, who recently had kyphoplasty by Dr. Murphy to repair a compressed vertebra after a fall. The octogenarian is back to walking, lifting weights and swimming. Dr. Murphy has been performing kyphoplasties at Jordan for three years.
Additionally, Dr. Dubuisson has a special interest in surgical techniques that relieve certain types of chronic pain, techniques that he has taught in Boston hospitals. For attacks of facial pain, known as trigeminal neuralgia, he performs “a microvascular decompression, which uses delicate instruments to relieve pressure on the nerve root. This procedure has the highest long-term success rate of the available treatments,” he said. Dr. Dubuisson devised a microsurgical technique to relieve occipital neuralgia, or pain that radiates up the back of the head, which was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery in 1995.
Along with electrical spinal cord stimulation to provide relief from chronic back and leg pain for patients who have had previous back surgery, the doctors offer many other options and techniques for a variety of back ailments, including pain from injuries or trauma.