Spinal fusion is surgery to permanently join together two or more vertebrae in the spine so there is no movement between them. Spinal fusion may be done by itself or along with surgery to remove bone and tissue that are narrowing the spinal canal and squeezing the spinal cord and/or the spinal nerves.
A lumbar laminectomy is also known as an open decompression and is typically performed to alleviate pain caused by neural impingement that can result from lumbar spinal stenosis. A condition that primarily afflicts elderly patients, spinal stenosis is caused by degenerative changes that result in enlargement of the facet joints. The enlarged joints then place pressure on the nerves, and this pressure may be effectively relieved with the laminectomy.
Baclofen is a medication that treats stiff muscles and spasms, a condition called spasticity, that can happen to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and other nerve diseases. Normally, your muscles get electrical signals from your nerves that tell them when to tense and relax. Spasticity happens when these signals become uneven, usually because the nerves have been damaged. This makes muscles tense up or move when you don’t want them to. Baclofen works by restoring the normal signals. It can help you move your muscles more normally.
A spinal cord stimulator is a device used to exert pulsed electrical signals to the spinal cord to control chronic pain. In general, neurostimulation works by applying an electrical current to the source of chronic pain. This creates a pleasant sensation that blocks the brain's ability to sense the previously perceived pain.
The spinal cord and its associated structures are rare sites of tumor occurrence. The most common tumors developing from tissues within the spinal cord are known as astrocytomas or ependymomas. The majority of these tumors are benign and spread beyond the spinal canal is extremely rare. However, due to the compressive effect on the neural elements, these lesions can have a significant neurological impact. The best treatment for this is surgery.
Fracture of the odontoid of the axis is a common injury in the cervical spine. Its treatment remains quite challenging because of the associated risk owing to the complex anatomy of the craniocervical junction. The conservative treatment includes cervical orthoses, halo vests, and jackets, which may allow for the fracture to fuse without the need for surgical intervention. However, these methods are poorly tolerated in the elderly and the multiple injured patients. Odontoid process fractures are classified into three types depending on the location of the fracture line.
Spinal cord trauma simply means damage to the spinal cord. It may result from direct injury to the cord itself or indirectly from disease of the surrounding bones, tissues, or blood vessels. The causes can range from assault to car wrecks to falling down, and the types of treatment for spinal trauma are as varied as the causes. A minor injury can damage the spinal cord if the spine is weakened, such as from rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis. Injury can also occur if the spinal canal protecting the spinal cord has become too narrow (spinal stenosis) due to the normal aging process.
A cervical arthroplasty is a disk replacement procedure to remove and replace problem discs in your neck. This is an alternative procedure to the ACDF, where instead of a fusion of bone graft, an artificial disc is used. Both types of surgery require a discectomy. This is the removal of the damaged disc to allow the decompression of the nerves and spinal cord to give you relief from your symptoms. After the discectomy has been performed there is a choice between using either a disc replacement or a fusion device to reconstruct your cervical spine.
Discectomy is a surgery to remove herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord in your lower back. It tends to be done as microdiscectomy, which uses a special microscope to view the disc and nerves. This larger view allows Dr. Walpert to make a smaller incision, which causes less damage to surrounding tissue.
Biking is a prominent hobby, mode of transportation and exercise in the Athens area.
On September 26, 2015, I met the Gales family in terrible circumstances--after Devon's devastating spinal cord injury while playing football at Sanford Stadium.