Understanding the problem
A compressed nerve in the spine can lead to chronic pain that interferes with an individual’s ability to function day to day. Nerve compression can occur at any level of the spine, but is most common in the lumbar (lower back) region and the cervical (neck) region. These two regions, far more than the thoracic (middle back) region, are subjected to a great deal of wear and tear over time. The neck region supports the weight of the head and facilitates nodding and other head movement. The lumbar supports the entire upper body and is involved in a wide range of stress inducing body movement, like bending and twisting. With age, these factors can contribute to spinal instability, which can in turn produce the conditions that can pinch the nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord at each level.
Understanding who suffers
Two of the most common age-related conditions leading to compressed nerve symptoms are osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. These conditions produce effects that tend to destabilize the spine. With osteoarthritis, worn joint cartilage can trigger the body to produce excess growth of bone called bone spurs. For sufferers of degenerative disc disease, deterioration of spinal discs can produce herniated discs, bulging discs and a reduction in disc height that could lead to vertebral slippage (spondylolisthesis).
Potential Signs and Symptoms
If a nerve root becomes compressed, or impinged, it can give rise to the following compressed nerve symptoms:
- Localized pain and inflammation
- Shooting pain down the length of the nerve
- Tingling, numbness or complete loss of sensation
- A loss of functionality or weakness in a muscle group
Examinations Usually Required
In order to make an accurate compressed nerve diagnosis, physicians take a complete medical history, and conduct a physical examination that could include palpation of the spine and range-of-motion tests. Medical imaging, including an X-ray, MRI or CT scan might be ordered.
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS
Following the diagnosis of a compressed nerve, conservative non-surgical treatment will initially be proposed. If conservative treatment fails to provide relief, your physician might recommend surgery.
Compressed nerve or pinched nerve surgery, is a procedure to decompress or release a trapped spinal nerve root, normally relieving the associated symptoms including: tingling, numbness, the associated pain, muscle weakness amongst other symptoms that can make life debilitating for those affected. A compressed or pinched spinal nerve can be due to a number of underlying causes, for example degenerative disc disease, a bone spur or disc collapse.
AIMIS is an expert in spine surgery and can provide minimally invasive procedures for a compressed or pinched nerve and can review and propose your type and course of treatment.
- Discectomy - involves the partial removal of a damaged disc that is causing symptoms. In removing the damaged part of the disc, pain can be alleviated, as well as the potential weakness and numbness caused by its impingement on a surrounding nerve.
- Laminotomy - to remove the bony roof of a vertebra so as to provide more space to compressed nerves and relieving the symptoms caused by impingement.
- Foraminotomy – involved the widening a vertebral opening to allow nerves to pass through to innervate the other areas of the body, providing more room for compressed , relieving the symptoms ranging from localized pain to radiating weakness.
- Fusions – in the case where the collapsed disc has lost significant height and can no longer support the surrounding vertebrae, spinal fusion involves the removal of the collapsed intervertebral disc, followed by a repositioning and fusing of the two neighbouring vertebrae.
AIMIS provides various surgical options depending on an individual’s problem and include:
- Minimally Invasive Decompression Surgery,
- Minimally Invasive Stabilization Surgery,
- Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery,
- Total Disk Replacement (TDR),
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion,
- Decompressor Discectomy,
- Lumbar Disc Microsurgery Treatment
Why minimally invasive spine surgery?
Minimally invasive spine surgery was developed to treat spine problems with less injury to the muscles and other normal structures in the spine. It also assists the surgeon to see where the problem exists in the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), does not involve a long incision as is open surgery which helps to avoid damage to the muscles surrounding the spine. In most cases, this results in less pain after surgery and a significant faster recovery.
Spine surgery is normally recommended once a period of nonsurgical treatment likely including medications and physical therapy has not provided pain relief caused by the back problem. Surgery is considered when the source of your pain and underlying cause can be identified and surgical procedure proposed. Minimally invasive techniques today are common and being used for a wide range of spine procedures.
Benefits of minimal invasive spine surgery include:
- Small incisions
- Less pain. Often less pain than open procedures because less of the natural anatomy is disrupted
- Shorter Hospital stay
- Quicker return to daily activities
- Lower infection and complication rate
- Less blood loss. Smaller incisions also mean less blood loss, which can ultimately improve outcomes.
Minimally invasive procedures take a surgery that could be a dramatic event and makes it have less of an impact!
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Reputable and Prestigious Surgeons
AIMIS' skilled team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and ancillary professionals has one of the leading experiences in the world for minimally invasive spine surgery. Our full team are consulted with each case to find the most suitable experienced doctor for the patient’s exact issue, to ensure the maximum potential outcome of treatment
Getting More Information Before Moving Forward
You may have questions like:
- Can I get more information before I commit to this?
- Can I get a second opinion from you before I commit to this?
- How can I find out the cost before I have any obligation?
What AIMIS Can do:
AIMIS will provide a full review, diagnosis and potential surgical options for your condition, after receiving the relevant examinations and information from you. They will also provide an estimate for your surgical procedure before you decide. AIMIS’s mission is to the provision of “true” healthcare for those who require it. It provides world leading surgeons using state of the art procedures to optimize potential surgical outcomes, whilst taking care of all arrangements so as to allow concentration on recovery.
AIMIS provide competitive prices for state of the art procedures. We also work with a large range of Insurance companies where your policy allows you to have surgery abroad.
Further information on the problem:
It is far less common to experience a compressed nerve in the thoracic (middle) region of the spine than in the lumbar (lower back) region or the cervical (neck) region, because of the relatively fixed nature of the 12 thoracic vertebrae, which are located in the torso (chest) and attached to the ribs. The thoracic region is not subjected to the same stresses as the lower back and the neck, like supporting the weight of the upper body and head and facilitating a wide range of motion. That being said, the thoracic region is the area of the spine most commonly affected by the abnormal spinal curvature known as scoliosis, which can also cause nerve compression. The lower thoracic region is also where the longest and largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve, originates before branching off to stimulate most of the lower body.
Even though a compressed nerve in the thoracic region is relatively rare, it can occur. When it does, the most common symptom is localized pain, often accompanied by inflammation. At times, though, nerve compression in the thoracic area of the spine can lead to symptoms that are similar to those brought on by compression within the cervical or lumbar regions. The difference is that radiating pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness is not felt in the arms or legs. Rather, a compressed nerve in the thoracic region can cause symptoms to appear in the:
- Middle back
- Upper chest
The thoracic nerves are also responsible for carrying signals between the brain and several vital organs, including the heart, lungs, stomach, intestines, pancreas and bladder, among others.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups
Compressed nerve causes usually can be traced to the aging process. As the body ages, the anatomical components of the spine begin to wear down. The spinal discs can lose water content and elasticity, the cartilage of the vertebral joints (facet joints) can begin to wear down and the ligaments can become stiff and inflexible. This age-related breakdown threatens the stability of the spine as anatomical abnormalities such as bulging discs, herniated discs and bone spurs begin to develop.
These abnormalities, in turn, can produce debilitating symptoms if they make contact with the nerve roots that branch off the spinal cord and split into nerves that carry sensory and motor signals between the brain and the rest of the body.
Why AIMIS for this Surgery
AIMIS strives for excellence in delivering the best surgical outcomes, via the extensive expertise of its prestige surgeons, its technologies, its highly trained staff and superior facilities to provide an individualized and compassionate experience in a comfortable environment. All patients are treated with the individual care they deserve in an effort to provide the best chance of successful treatment.
Other Services Provided by AIMIS
In addition to its Innovative Healthcare, AIMIS provides seamless service along the way. From the start of your journey you'll know the best flights to take, where you'll be staying, what paperwork you will need. You will have a personal assistant assigned; from your pick up at the airport, to your accommodation, continuous assistance at your pre-consultation, through surgery and in your postsurgical care. Our Patients have said that they feel they have become "part of our family" and some even asked to stay a little longer! AIMIS is here to assist you in an all you requirements, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.