Complex spinal deformities can are often serious conditions within the cervical, thoracic and/or lumbar spine, in which patients are debilitated by their suffering. This often ranges from chronic pain and a generally lowered quality of life to loss of bladder and/or bowel control and the inability to stand or walk.
Some of the most common conditions that can develop into complex spinal deformities include:
A curvature of the spine that often develops shortly before puberty or later in life (as the body ages), scoliosis can be mild and asymptomatic or uncomfortable and debilitating. After a diagnosis is complete, the physician will examine the curve to determine the best course of treatment. Typically, curves measuring more than 20 degrees will require some form of intervention.
Defined as a severe curve in the spine leading to a hunched or rounded back, kyphosis can be the result of poor posture or a structural abnormality. This can lead to chronic back pain and difficulty standing upright. This condition can also affect intervertebral discs, nerves, bones and muscles within the back.
When one vertebra slips forward onto the bone below, it is usually defined as spondylolisthesis. This condition most frequently occurs in the lumbar (lower back) region, but can happen anywhere within the spine. This causes intense pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, in turn creating pain and discomfort that will likely become severe if left untreated. Treatment will be recommended on an individual basis, with factors such as the severity of the complex spinal deformity and the patient’s surgical and health history all carefully considered.
SYMPTOMS OF SPINAL DEFORMITY
Symptoms associated with complex spinal deformity are overwhelmingly chronic pain and excessive fatigue. Depending on the underlying condition and its severity, complex spinal deformities may be visible. These can include a rounded or hunched back (kyphosis); uneven shoulders, hips or waist (scoliosis); ribcage that protrudes on one side (scoliosis); or difficulty standing upright or walking (scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylolisthesis). Additionally, numbness, weakness and general discomfort are also common symptoms of complex spinal deformity.
CAUSES OF SPINAL DEFORMITY
The causes for complex spinal deformities depend on the diagnosed condition. Most of these conditions, such as scoliosis or spondylolisthesis, come in many different forms that have unique causes and implications. Further examination of the diagnosed condition and its type may give patients a good idea as to the underlying causes.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE TREATMENT
Preferred procedures for complex spinal deformities are dependent upon the condition being treated. However, some of the most commonly recommended include:
During this type of procedure, Mr Torrie will use screws, rods and bone graft to carefully fuse problematic vertebrae together and correct deformities in the spine. Advanced spinal fusion techniques are often used when treating scoliosis, kyphosis, spondylolisthesis and other conditions.
Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion
This minimally invasive procedure requires two tiny incisions along the patient’s sides and is frequently recommended to treat a variety of conditions affecting the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine, including scoliosis and spondylolisthesis. Dilation tubes are guided between muscle fibers, eliminating the need to cut through the tissue, and allow clear access to the spine. Our expert surgeon will then remove damaged discs and insert an implant made of bone graft into the empty space, eventually forming a bone bridge and successfully fusing.Laminectomy
While there are a diverse range of laminectomy procedures available, this type of minimally invasive surgery removes a portion of the vertebra to decompress the spine and relieve pain-causing pressure on surrounding nerves or the spinal cord itself.