Spine surgery

Function of the spine or spinal cord

Spinal surgery (columna vertebralis or or spinal cord) and spinal cord (medulla spinalis or spinal marrow) eis one of the most anxiogenic surgeries from a patient’s view point. The fear of getting paralysis is evoked permanently. We approach the axis that holds us and provides us with upright “behavior” and standing posture. The spine protects the spinal cord and its roots, a fragile system of control of locomotion, movement.

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The backbone or spine is the axial skeleton of the neck and trunk, arranged vertically. It is a polyarticulated bone chain, kept erect by the permanent and coordinated action of the various muscles around it, stabilized by the vertebrae, the intervertebral discs and the ligaments that form it. It consists of 24 vertebrae (7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar), all resting on the sacrum, rigidified by the pelvis that can be considered the 25th vertebra. The vertebrae are joined by intervertebral discs anteriorly and two vertebral joints posteriorly. The stack of the vertebrae forms the vertebral canal (spinal canal, lumbar canal) in which the spinal cord is located for the cervical and thoracic spine and the « cauda equina » for the lumbar spine.

Spine disorders

Spine disorders in adults mainly affect the cervical spine and lumbar spine. They are known as « degenerative » disorders (linked to aging) and can be impairing in a targeted or cumulative way especially for:

  • intervertebral discs such as cervical disc herniation cervicobrachialgia), lumbar disc herniation (sciatica, cruralgia), discogenic low back pain;
  • the posterior joints: posterior articular osteoarthritis (or posterior inter-apophyseal arthrosis or zygarthrosis), cervical osteoarthritis, lumbar osteoarthritis;
  • the vertebral body: vertebral and osteoporotic compression;
  • or even several elements at once: narrow cervical canal (cervical stenosis and cervical myelopathy), lumbar canal stenosis, spondylolisthesis.

Spinal Surgery and Operations

Today, advances in spinal surgery offer as many surgical solutions as there are possible combinations of pathological conditions: disc replacement, spinal arthrodesis, thermocoagulation, vertebroplasty (or cementoplasty or kyphoplasty),lumbar canal recalibration (or narrow duct surgery), disc herniation cure (or discectomy, or operation of the herniated disc), etc…

The primary role of the spine surgeon is to understand and explain to the patient the source of his pain (back pain, lower back pain, neck pain, sciatica, cruralgia, cervico-brachial neuralgia) or functional impairment walking difficulty, loss of sensitivity of hand or leg mobility).

Once the problem has been identified, and if the non-surgical, « preservative » management actually proves unsatisfactory (medications, rehabilitation, physiotherapy…), then the « surgical » treatment can find its place. It is the surgeon’s responsibility to perform a comprehensive explanation of the technical principle of the surgical procedure, the expected benefits and risks involved to the patient.

This site aims to provide some general information on the major surgical procedures performed in orthopedic and trauma surgery; in no way of course, can it replace consulting your surgeon which allows to adjust the diagnosis and comprehensive explanations according each patient.

This website is also intended to be developed and updated according to the breakthroughs and advances in orthopaedics, while being within everyone’s reach.

Centre de Chirurgie Ostéo-Articulaire (CCO) - Polyclinique Saint-Privat - Rue de la Margeride -34760 Boujan-sur-Libron