Back and Spine Services
Diagnosis, Treatment and Surgery for Back and Spine Conditions
New York Methodist Hospital has an experienced staff of surgeons who treat all forms of back and spine issues, using advanced surgical and nonsurgical techniques.
After conservative treatment options are exhausted, many patients benefit from surgery to alleviate the pain and limited mobility caused by a number of spinal problems, such as herniated disks, vertebral instability, arthritis, and tumors.
Spinal surgery may be indicated either to remove tumors of the spine and spinal cord or to correct serious anomalies of the spine that result from congenital diseases or from degeneration caused by aging. Tumors are safely removed under the surgical microscope with close monitoring of the function of the spinal cord as the operation is performed in order to avoid neurological damage. Spinal anomalies, which may cause chronic pain or disability can be surgically corrected, using safe surgical procedures that utilize modern materials and techniques.
Learn more about: spinal stenosis, spinal tumors, and cauda equina syndrome.
Kyphoplasty for Fractures Caused by Osteoporosis
With a minimally invasive surgery procedure called kyphoplasty, those suffering from osteoporosis fractures have a viable treatment option. This procedure reduces the time needed to treat the fracture and reduces the patient's discomfort as well. During the procedure, a small incision is made in the patient's back. The surgeon then inserts a narrow tube and guides it to the location of the fracture. Using X-ray imaging, a miniature balloon is inserted into the damaged vertebrae and slowly expanded, restoring the vertebrae to a more normal position. When the balloon is deflated and removed, a quick-setting cement-like material is injected into the resulting cavity.
The entire process takes one to two hours for each vertebra and patients generally go home the same day. Normal activities can be resumed within a few days. The procedure can be performed under both general and local anesthesia.
Restoring lost height is best accomplished when kyphoplasty is performed soon after fractures occur, generally within eight weeks. The procedure cannot correct an established deformity of the spine and not all patients with osteoporosis are candidates for the procedure.
Treatment for Back Pain
When surgery is required to alleviate back pain, it works by removing pressure from nerves and, if necessary, stabilizing and fusing the spine. Surgeons can now perform spinal fusion with minimal invasion, using small poke-hole incisions with minimal tissue dissection and live x-ray guidance. This can result in a faster recovery, less tissue damage, and less pain for the patient when compared to traditional open spinal fusion surgery.
Similarly, through the lateral access (sideways approach) technique, neurosurgeons at NYM can now minimize or even eliminate the need to dissect muscle to reach the spine for a procedure in many cases. This can be applied to spinal fusion and also many other causes of back pain, such as tumors of the spinal cord or spinal column, instability of the spine, trauma, and scoliosis.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) for Back Pain
With radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) doctors use radio waves to generate heat around a cell or tissue to ablate (or disable) it. RFA has also shown great promise in managing severe or chronic pain. This includes lower back (or lumbar) pain, certain types of spinal arthritis, and post-traumatic pain (or whiplash).
Simply, the heat that is produced by the RFA signal ends the nerve cells ability to transmit pain indicators to the brain. By turning off the cells capacity to deliver the message, the cell is then considered to be ablated or disconnected from the body's communication system and the patient is relieved of pain.
RFA is a minimally invasive procedure so there are few side effects and recovery time is rapid. Secondly, you will be given a local anesthetic and mild sedative through an intravenous (IV) line, but you will remain fully awake throughout the entire process.
For more information on treatment for back conditions, please call 718.246.8610 or 718.246.8700.
Visit our Back and Neck Pain Center.