As modern medicine continues to improve on the way we perform spinal procedures, robotic spine surgery represents a huge leap forward. Many minimally invasive procedures can now be performed with remarkable levels of accuracy, minimizing tissue damage and risk of infection as well as improving recovery times. But what conditions can we treat with this new technology? Can robotic spine surgery fix herniated discs, for instance?
Every patient’s case is different of course, and an experienced spine surgeon can determine whether robotic surgery is right for that person. However, the general answer is yes — robotic-assisted surgery can help patients suffering from herniated discs. Let’s explain how.
What is a Herniated Disc?
Between each of the vertebrae in your back sits a small disc, a soft pad often compared to a tiny jelly donut. These discs effectively serve as cushions or shock absorbers for the spinal column and keep the vertebrae from rubbing against each other. If for some reason the outer shell of the disc is compromised, or if undue pressure is placed upon it, the disc can bulge or rupture. The protruding material may then add undue pressure to nearby nerves, causing pain at the injury site, as well as shooting pain along the back, arms or legs, depending on where the herniation takes place and which nerves are affected. Other symptoms may include numbness or weakness.
Common Causes of Herniated Disc
Herniated discs can occur due to a number of causes, but they can all be generally grouped into three categories:
- Natural aging: Degenerative disc disease and arthritic conditions can weaken the discs over time, causing one or more of them to herniate.
- Undue pressure or stress on the back: Lifting heavy objects without proper support or while turning the wrong direction may cause undue pressure on the discs. Likewise, being overweight can add constant pressure and create postural problems, which can also cause discs to weaken and rupture.
- Trauma or injury: A sudden sharp impact (e.g., a fall or traffic accident) or a direct hit to the spine can cause discs to rupture.
How Robotic Spine Surgery is Used to Treat Herniated Discs
Robotic-assisted surgery enables the surgeon to identify and target the exact point of injury to create a small incision and remove the portion of the disc material that is causing pressure and pain, or to remove the disc completely. If spinal fusion is recommended, the robotic arm can also help the physician place implants with tremendous accuracy causing minimal trauma at the injury site.
If you’re suffering from a herniated disc, an experienced neurosurgeon can help you determine whether robotic spine surgery is the right solution for you.
Call Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center for an evaluation at 404-256-2633, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org