Spine surgery has made dramatic strides over the last one to two decades. Techniques to decrease recovery time, reduce tissue disruption, and retain mobility are now being used, with several others under development. Very few individuals need spine surgery, but for those who do there are more choice than ever before, allowing for shorter hospital stays and improved outcomes. There are also more accurate diagnostic devices available to pinpoint the exact source of symptoms better.
The following highlights are some of the most recent and exciting advances currently being used in spinal medicine:
- Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement for neck problems is demonstrating consistent positive results and is becoming a viable substitute for Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF). One technology has also received approval for two-level procedures.
- Spinal fusion outcomes continue to improve, with fewer complications and post-op pain noted. Improvements in bone graft choices and an increased number of non-invasive procedures, such as Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF), Minimally Invasive Sacroiliac Joint Fusion, and Extreme Lumbar Interbody Fusion (XLIF), are driving this positive change.
- Improving the hardware for implants by specifically using titanium has produced better imaging after surgery, allow for greater picture clarity.
The future of spine surgery includes these systems that are under development:
- Biologics, such as Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMP) are being evaluated for possible replacement of cadaver or a person’s bone used in grafting. BMP would be placed inside a ceramic implant or protein sponge and would grow to fill the disc space and provide a complete solid fusion
- Disc Regeneration research is being done to determine if genetically-engineered cells can be injected or implanted into a damaged disc to repair and restore it to full function.
Innovations in technology coupled with advances in biologic research will continue to improve outcomes for individuals undergoing spine surgery for pain relief and restoration of physical function.
If you are suffering from neck or back pain and would like to schedule a consultation to find out about the innovative treatments we offer, please contact us at our Seguin or New Braunfels offices.