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Medicare’s Hospital Fines Could Improve Safety for Back Pain Patients

medicare fines for worst US hospitalsA stay in hospital is supposed to help restore us to health but for some patients it can have devastating consequences. Not only can routine surgery, such as common procedures for spinal stenosis, go wrong, hospital-acquired infections have become a major issue in the past few years, especially due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant organisms like methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Now, however, Medicare is rolling out a new system where the worst performing hospitals will be hit with big fines for infections and avoidable injuries. Continue reading “Medicare’s Hospital Fines Could Improve Safety for Back Pain Patients” »


The Facts About Bone Grafting for Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Spinal StenosisSpinal fusion, one of the most common types of spinal stenosis surgeries, requires a bone graft to facilitate the growth of new bone between two or more vertebrae. The graft is placed between adjacent vertebrae once an intervertebral disc has been removed. Over time, the graft helps the vertebrae to fuse into one solid segment of bone. The goal of this procedure is to stabilize the spine, relieve neural compression caused be the spinal stenosis, and eliminate pain caused by movement at the affected level of the spine. Continue reading “The Facts About Bone Grafting for Spinal Stenosis Surgery” »


Spinal Stenosis Surgery – Can it Help Treat Symptoms Caused by the Narrowing in Your Spine?

Spinal Stenosis SurgeryIf you’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, surgery will probably not be part of your treatment plan right away, if at all. In fact, most patients with spinal stenosis are able to find relief from a regimen of conservative, nonsurgical treatments, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medication, physical therapy, and others.

So, how do you know when it might be time to start exploring your surgical options?

Continue reading “Spinal Stenosis Surgery – Can it Help Treat Symptoms Caused by the Narrowing in Your Spine?” »

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Considering Herniated Disc Surgery? Make Sure You’ve Done This Before Giving Consent.

Herniated Disc SurgeryBefore consenting to herniated disc surgery, almost every patient suffering from the effects of this degenerative condition should create a checklist of items to consider. In most cases, spine surgery for a herniated disc is considered an elective procedure, which means unless there is a life-threatening condition or a spine specialist considers it a matter of urgency, most people can afford to give the decision and supporting research the time they deserve. Continue reading “Considering Herniated Disc Surgery? Make Sure You’ve Done This Before Giving Consent.” »


Minimally Invasive Spinal Stenosis Treatment – What Are My Options?

Spinal stenosis treatmentSpinal stenosis treatment in the form of an endoscopic procedure may be an option for people who have attempted several months of conservative (nonsurgical) treatments without finding sufficient relief from their symptoms. Minimally invasive procedures performed through an endoscope offer a variety of benefits over highly invasive open spine surgeries, including the fact that they can be performed on an outpatient basis (no hospitalization). Endoscopic spine surgeries also involve fewer risks and require a much shorter and less painful recovery period than that of an open spine surgery. Continue reading “Minimally Invasive Spinal Stenosis Treatment – What Are My Options?” »


What to do Before and Immediately After You Consent to Slipped Disc Surgery

Slipped disc surgerySlipped disc surgery should never be agreed to without researching the potential side effects and risks. Surgery is almost always the last resort for someone suffering from debilitating pain and other symptoms associated with a slipped disc (or, more properly, a herniated disc). Of course, if you have begun to consider surgery to alleviate your symptoms, chances are you already have held several – perhaps many – conversations with your physician or back specialist about your options.

You might also have attempted to treat your symptoms with a wide variety of conservative, nonsurgical treatment methods, only to find that your symptoms remain debilitating and your quality of life continues to deteriorate. At this point, it is certainly reasonable to begin your research into slipped disc surgery.

Continue reading “What to do Before and Immediately After You Consent to Slipped Disc Surgery” »


Spinal Stenosis Surgery – Understanding Your Options

Spinal Stenosis SurgeryIf you’re one of the relatively few patients for whom elective spinal stenosis surgery becomes an option, it’s important to ask your physician about the surgical procedures that may be available to you. The specific procedure or procedures you ultimately choose to undergo will be highly dependent on your unique situation, but most procedures will focus on treating stenosis, or narrowing, in spinal passageways by enlarging the space within the spinal canal to decompress the spinal cord, or within an intervertebral foramen to decompress a nerve root. Continue reading “Spinal Stenosis Surgery – Understanding Your Options” »

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Foraminal Spinal Stenosis Surgery


Foraminal spinal stenosis surgery is rarely needed urgently and is, instead, often scheduled only if conservative therapies have failed.

Foraminal spinal stenosis surgery is normally treated conservatively for the first six months of symptoms at which point patients who have not improved or found ways to manage the condition may be considered eligible for back surgery. Acute foraminal stenosis causing severe neurological symptoms may necessitate earlier surgery to free trapped nerves and prevent permanent damage and long-term effects of spinal stenosis. Such acute need for foraminal spinal stenosis surgery is rare, however, as the condition tends to develop over time and create earlier milder symptoms of intermittent nerve compression before severe symptoms arise. Continue reading “Foraminal Spinal Stenosis Surgery” »

When is Spinal Stenosis Surgery Indicated?

when is spinal stenosis surgery necessary severe cervical myelopathy mri

Severe cervical myelopathy like this necessitates immediate spinal stenosis surgery.

Conservative treatment for spinal stenosis is the standard approach but patients continuing to experience severe back pain or other symptoms of nerve or spinal cord compression are usually considered for spinal stenosis surgery.

As a general rule, those whose symptoms are severe enough to impact on self-care, such as becoming unable to go on short shopping trips or bathe oneself, are recommended to undergo surgery. Even in these cases, however, there are those for whom surgery is simply too risky due to other health considerations, the potential for complications from anaesthesia, and the risk of infection after spinal stenosis surgery. When is spinal stenosis surgery indicated? That depends on the individual, their symptoms, and a wide variety of factors.
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What is an Endoscope and How Is It Used in a Spinal Stenosis Procedure?

Spinal Stenosis ProcedureA spinal stenosis procedure can take many forms, but the newest and least invasive type is called an endoscopic procedure. “Endoscopic” means that an endoscope is used during the surgery and “endoscopy” literally means “looking inside” an organ or body cavity, but how can this one tool, an endoscope, actually offer patients a minimally invasive surgical experience for spinal stenosis? First, let’s explore what an endoscope is and how it has revolutionized medical procedures.
Continue reading “What is an Endoscope and How Is It Used in a Spinal Stenosis Procedure?” »