Our spinal cord protects the nerves that send messages to the brain. It is made up of a series of
connected bones or vertebrae. These vertebra are stacked on top of each other forming an ‘S’
shape with the curve being the most at the neck and in the lower back. Each vertebra has a disc
between them which acts as a shock absorber. Unfortunately though there are situations
where the spine can be injured and needs surgery. We at Ranka Hospital, Pune take a look at a
few situations that may require spine fixation treatment.
1. Degenerative Disc Disease: As we grow older, the vertebrae in our spine tend to dry up
and harden. This creates friction between the bones leading to a number of painful
spinal problems such as Spinal Stenosis and Spinal Osteoarthritis. Problems arising from
the natural aging of the spine are known as degenerative disc disease. Lifestyle changes,
physical therapy and medication help degenerative discs to some extent. However, if
these fail spine fixation treatment may be considered.
2. Spinal Stenosis: Sometimes the spinal cord narrows either due to aging, the presence
of an underlying spinal condition or because some people are born with a congenital
form. The narrowing of the spinal cord is called Spinal Stenosis. When this happens, the
nerves travelling through the spinal canal are pressurized. While there is no cure for
Spinal Stenosis, there are a number of ways to manage the pain, including spine fixation
3. Herniated Disc: The shock absorber discs between each vertebra are made up of a soft,
gel-like nucleus and a hard outer casing. With injury or aging, the disc may tear open,
allowing the nucleus to seep out. This nucleus puts pressure on the nearby nerves. This
is referred to as a herniated disc.
4. Spondylolisthesis: Commonly occurring in the lower back, Spondylolisthesis develops
when a vertebra slides over the bone beneath it. Infection, overuse of the affected joint,
lack of exercise and ageing are a few reasons why Spondylolisthesis occurs. The degree
of slippage determines how severe the symptoms are.
5. Spinal Osteoarthritis: When arthritis affects the spine, cartilage tends to degenerate.
Cartilage is soft tissue that prevents bones from rubbing against each other. When this
degenerates it leads to the formation of bone spurs and other problems.
As you can see, most of the conditions mentioned above involve the movement of the
vertebrae and pain is caused due to that movement. Spine fixation is a procedure that aims to
restrict this movement. Using metallic screws, rods, plates and implants the spine is
immobilized until the spinal segments fuse together. If the bone doesn’t heal over time, the
implants will eventually loosen and break out of the bone. The implants only give the bone a
foundation to grow over.
There are different ways in which spinal fixation is approached. Some approach it from the back
of the spine, known as Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion while some approach it from the side
known as Tranforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion. Both methods can be used depending on the
patients’ medical history.
While complete recovery after a spine fixation surgery takes a while, a patient may be released
from hospital within 5-10 days. Patients are also initially advised to avoid activities that may
place the bone graft at risk. This includes being aware of one’s posture, avoiding bending and
lifting heavy objects. Care should be taken while getting in and out of bed. Patients are also
required to be especially careful while dressing, bathing and wearing shoes. Usually one can
restart driving 6 weeks after surgery though your doctor must approve this first.
The main thing to remember while recovering from spine fixation treatment is that no matter
what you do, it should not aggravate any pain in your back. If the activity you do results in
further back pain, stop it immediately and consult your doctor.
At Ranka Hospital, Pune our first line of treatment is conservative. It is only when these fail that
we recommend minimally invasive surgical techniques such as spine fixation, anterior and
posterior cervical fusion, artificial disc replacement, cervical disc replacement, lumbar (open)
microscopic discectomy, spinal fusion and scoliosis correction.
Ranka Hospital, Pune has a team specialized in spinal orthopedic treatments such as spine
fixation. Visit us now for a consultation.