Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are life-threatening forms of trauma that require different types of treatment depending on the level and severity of each injury. The spinal cord, which consists of 31 nerve bundles housed within the boney protective structure of the spine, is a delicate and integral component of the body’s central nervous system (CNS). The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of your body, enabling the motor and sensory functions we take for granted each day.
The goals of spinal cord injury surgery are to:
- Decompress or relieve pressure from the spinal cord (from bone fragments, tumours, or anything else that may be compressing the spinal cord),
- Stabilize the vertebral spine (which protects the spinal cord),
- Mitigate further damage to the spinal cord nerves and spine,
- Remove bone fragments or foreign objects that may impede the spinal cord,
- Tend to blood clots or repair herniated disks,
- Repair fractured vertebrae,
- Improve the patient’s quality of life.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury Treatments Are:
Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery:
Minimally invasive spine surgery is performed for a wide variety of problems. It is beneficial to many patients because it uses a smaller incision, preserves the normal muscular structure, lowers infection rates, reduces blood loss, decreases post-surgical pain and shortens recovery time.
Among the most common types of spinal cord injury treatments aim to treat spinal stenosis, a condition that involves the narrowing or compression of the vertebrae that make up the spine (thereby compressing or impeding the spinal cord). A laminotomy, which includes the surgical removal of bone to decompress the spinal cord nerves, is a common form of spinal cord injury surgery for spinal stenosis.
Other types of spinal cord injury treatment surgeries for spinal stenosis include:
Foraminotomy: This procedure enlarges the area around one of the bones in your spinal column to relieve pressure on compressed nerves.
Interspinous process spacer: This device is used to open the vertebral foramen (the space in which the spinal cord runs vertically throughout the spine) to create additional space for your spinal cord and nerves in your spinal column without needing to remove any bone (as in a traditional laminectomy) while also causing less trauma to ligaments and muscles.
What to Know About Spinal Injury Recovery From Surgery?
Although patients may wish to avoid invasive spinal cord injury surgery, sometimes the reality of their conditions may require more help than physical therapy alone can provide. Regardless of the method, the best chance of recovery for someone with a traumatic spinal cord injury is early intervention and treatment.
The most significant recovery is often seen within the first six months after a spinal cord injury occurs. However, people have been known to experience improvements even years after their injury with aggressive rehabilitation and physical therapy.