Spondylosis: All you need to know
A doctor will only suggest surgery if symptoms are severe and persistent and if no other treatment has helped.
A person might need surgery if pinched nerves result in serious numbness, weakness, or loss of bowel or bladder control, and if the damage is likely to get worse without surgery.
The type of surgery will depend on the problem and its location. A doctor can identify the affected areas with imaging technology, such as X-rays.
Surgery might involve removing a disc or piece of bone that is pressing against the nerves, then fusing nearby vertebrae. Or, a surgeon may replace a damaged disc with an artificial one.
In the past, spinal surgery was a major procedure. Now, endoscopic — or keyhole — surgery may be an option. This is far less invasive than open surgery.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, minimally invasive spinal surgery involves fewer risks, because:
- The incision is smaller.
- There is less blood loss during surgery.
- There is less chance of muscle damage.
- Recovery is faster.
- A doctor can use a local anesthetic.
Also, there is a reduced risk of pain and infection after surgery and less need for medication.