What is Back Pain Surgery ?

Dr Foram Bhuta

Dr Foram Bhuta

BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery), 10 years of experience

September 16, 2021 Bone Health 392 Views

English हिन्दी Bengali

What is Back Pain Surgery?

A surgical procedure done to cure back pain in an individual is known as back pain surgery. Around 80% of people will experience some kind of back pain in their life, whether it lasts for a few days or extends into years for some.

Most of the time, back pain will resolve by itself, others requiring mild to moderate medical therapy like heat, ice, and over-the-counter painkillers. Studies even show great benefit from regular exercise and it might even prevent it from coming back altogether. Some patients, however, still may experience relapses and immense pain, even after medical therapy. Surgery is advisable in those cases of back pain who do not respond well to more conventional forms of treatment such as physiotherapy, medication, heat therapy, etc.

If you experience any symptoms associated with back pain, then you should contact the doctor.

Let us explain in detail about back pain surgery in today’s article.

  • What are the Causes of Back Pain?
  • When is Back Pain Surgery needed?
  • What are the diagnostic tests done before Back Pain Surgery?
  • What is the procedure for Back Pain Surgery?
  • What is the care after Back Pain Surgery?
  • What are the risks of Back Pain Surgery?
  • What is the cost of Back Pain Surgery in India?

What are the Causes of Back Pain?

Few conditions that are generally linked with back pain are: 

  • Muscle or ligament strain: Repeated heavy lifting or sudden movements such as twisting, can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If your general physical condition is weak, constant back strain can cause painful spasms of the back muscles.
  • Bulging or ruptured discs: Discs are small cartilaginous bodies (elastic tissues covering the end of the bones) that lie in between the vertebrae (bones forming the spinal column or backbone) that function as our body’s own shock absorbers. They resist considerable tension and weight levied upon the spine by the weight of the body. However, sometimes, due to increased pressure, these discs may rupture. This leads to them bulging and irritating the spinal cord and thus, causes pain to the patient. Surprisingly, a lot of ruptured discs are found accidentally during the screening investigation for other pathologies. One of the telltale signs of a disc problem is Sciatica, a pain that radiates down the buttock, thigh, back of the leg, or calf. 
  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis (a common joint disease that causes pain and stiffness) can affect the lower back. It may also lead to narrowing of the spinal canal, which is the space around the spinal cord or the backbone, due to the growth of bony projections. Medically, this condition is known as spinal stenosis and it reduces the space for nerves to pass, thus leading to compression and pain.
  • Osteoporosis: With age, especially in females, bones tend to become frail, porous, and brittle. This increases the risk for pain and fracture. This can be identified early by repeated bone scans, strongly recommended after a woman is menopausal (menstrual period stops).

( Know more about- Arthritis and Home remedies to cure Arthritis )

When is Back Pain Surgery needed?

There may be a need for back pain surgery based on the following symptoms:

  • Swelling around the back that may be bony and hard, or soft and tender
  • Recent injury to the back
  • Inability to control bowel movements
  • Inability to control the urge to urinate
  • Numbness around genitals, anus, or buttocks

What are the diagnostic tests done before Back Pain Surgery?

Before back pain surgery, the following tests are done for an accurate diagnosis. Let us explain further.

  • CT scan: It is an imaging technique used to view the internal body structures from a cross-sectional view.
  • X-ray: Another form of imaging where X Rays pass through the body, creating an image of varying translucencies on a film.
  • MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans is a technique used in radiology to produce images of organs and tissues in the body
  • Bone Scan: A small amount of radioactive material is used in this procedure to diagnose bone ailments.
  • Electromyography: A method of diagnosis where an electrical stimulus is used to test the response from muscles is called electromyography.

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What is the procedure for Back Pain Surgery?

The back pain surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia in the following different ways: 

  • Microsurgical: In this procedure, through a small incision the damaged portion of the disc is removed using a microscope along with a small portion of bone covering the spinal cord. Discectomy or removal of the vertebral disc is the surgery to remove the damaged disc. 
  • Percutaneous: On the back, a small incision is first made. A laser or suction device is used to remove a portion of the disc through a narrow probe.
  • Laminectomy: This is done to enlarge the spinal column when there is pressure on the nerve roots due to spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space around the spinal cord resulting in pain to the patient). The lamina, the structure forming a roof above the spinal cord, is removed with bony protrusions or spurs. This results in the widening of the spinal canal, thus relieving the pain. 
  • Spinal fusion: A bone-like material is placed between two vertebrae, which may be secured with plates, screws, and rods so that they heal into one unit. The healing of this material resembles the healing process of a broken bone. It stabilizes those parts of the spine that are constantly under the pressure of the body’s weight. However, this procedure has the disadvantage that the top and bottom of the fused portion can cause additional stress and strain on the vertebrae.
  • Kyphoplasty: Under the effect of anesthesia, with X-ray guidance, a needle is inserted into the bone through the skin. After this, a balloon is inserted and inflated to help the spine regain its shape. If more than one vertebra is treated, it may take some more time to heal.
  • Artificial disc insertion: These are newer alternatives to spinal fusion that don’t come with the risks & complications of the former. However, it may not be easily tolerable by everyone.
  • Laser Surgery for Back Pain– In this type of surgery, laser is used to remove small parts of tissues present around the spinal cord and nerves of the back. This treatment modality is used only in limited conditions like nerve compression causing back pain. One of the commonly used laser surgery procedures for back pain is PLDD( Percutaneous Laser Disc Decompression). Advantage of this procedure is that it can be done under local anesthesia in OPD and is a less invasive method.

( Know more about- What is Laminectomy? Causes, Procedure and Cost )

What is the care after Back Pain Surgery?

After back pain surgery, the person needs proper care for recovery. The doctor recommends the following:

  • After back pain surgery, use the toilet carefully.
  • Regular exercise is necessary for building strength.
  • Always maintain correct posture.
  • Take your painkillers as per the doctor’s advice.
  • Do not carry heavy weights or strain your back more than necessary.
  • Try your best to lose as much weight as you can; mainly by diet control, rather than heavy exercise 

( Know more about- What is a Slipped Disc? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment )

What are the risks of Back Pain Surgery?

Every surgical procedure has some risks. Similarly, back pain surgery may also have some of the following risks:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Formation of blood clots (clump of blood formed due to an injury or a cut that plugs the injured blood vessel) that may present as pain in the legs or sudden breathlessness
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke (damage to the brain caused by an interrupted blood supply)
  • Herniated disc (a problem associated with a rubbery disc present between the vertebrae or spinal bones)
  • Nerve damage can lead to weakness or paralysis.
  • Mobility may be permanently impaired.
  • An allergic reaction to anesthesia or other drugs. The doctor may ask you about your past history with medication of this kind.

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What is the cost of Back Pain Surgery in India?

The total cost of back pain surgery in India can range from around INR 60,000 to INR 4,50,000. However, the cost of surgery may vary across different hospitals. There are many big hospitals and specialized doctors in India for back pain surgery. But the cost varies across different hospitals. 

If you are coming from abroad, in addition to the expenses of back pain surgery, there will be a cost of staying in a hotel, cost of living, and cost of local travel. Apart from this, after the surgery, the patient is kept in hospital for 3 days and in the hotel for a few days for faster recovery. So, the total cost of back pain surgery in India will be around INR 80,000 to INR 5,00,000.

We hope that we could answer all your questions regarding Back Pain Surgery through this article.

If you want more information and treatment for Back Pain Surgery, you can contact a Spine Surgeon.

We only aim to give you information through this article and do not recommend medication or treatment in any way. Only a doctor can give you good advice and the correct treatment plan.

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