Complex Spine Disorders
At Hunt Spine, our surgeons’ collaborative expertise in both orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery gives them an edge in the treatment of complex spine disorders. Through minimally invasive procedures and their own advancements in the field of spine care, patients routinely receive excellent results in both function and pain relief.
Complex spine disorders include:
- Spinal Cord Tumors »
- Spinal Infections »
- Spinal Instability »
- Spinal Deformities »
- Multiple Spinal Conditions »
Spinal Cord Tumors
Spinal cord tumors can develop within the spinal cord itself or in a region near the spinal cord where the tumor exerts pressure on the spinal cord. When such tumors develop in the spinal cord, they are known as primary spinal tumors. However, most spinal cord tumors are secondary tumors, meaning they originated elsewhere in the body and spread to the spinal cord. In general, most primary spinal cord tumors are benign, while secondary spinal cord tumors tend to be cancerous.
It is essential that spinal cord tumors get diagnosed and treated as rapidly as possible before spinal cord trauma is caused due to the tumor pressing on the spinal cord and interfering with neurological function.
How Do I Know If I Have a Spinal Cord Tumor?
While patients may be able to detect the possibility of a spinal cord tumor through a variety of symptoms, diagnosis is ultimately made by professionals in the field of spine care. The following are possible symptoms of a spinal cord tumor:
- Abnormal sensation, especially cold sensations, in the legs and lower part of the body
- Loss of sensation in the legs and lower portion of the body
- Back pain that is unrelated to physical activity, does not respond to pain medication and may feel more intense when laying down
- Bladder or fecal incontinence
- Loss of muscle function
- Muscle weakness, especially in the legs, which may results in falls or difficulty walking
For patients with the above symptoms, the doctors at Hunt Spine will use imaging services such as an MRI or CT scan to determine if a spinal cord tumor is present. Based on the tumor's size and location, they will then create a treatment plan to eradicate the tumor. In treating spinal cord tumors, their goal is prevention of any damage to the spinal cord, along with complete removal of the tumor so no further threat is present.
What are the Treatment Options for a Spinal Cord Tumor?
Many spinal cord tumors can be removed surgically. Spinal cord tumors can be removed either fully or partially in order to remove pressure on the spinal cord.
Spinal cord tumors may immediately be treated with steroid injections in order to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms prior to more aggressive treatments.
In cases where spinal cord tumors are cancerous, radiation and chemotherapy may be used to reduce the tumor. Radiation can be used in conjunction with surgery to address spinal cord tumors. Chemotherapy is less often used as a treatment option.
Where muscle function and motor skills have been affected, physical therapy may also be recommended. Recovery depends on how early the diagnosis and treatment are performed as well as the location and exact qualities of the spinal cord tumor.
Ultimately, spinal treatment options are determined after a thorough consultation and examination by the experts at Hunt Spine. Through the entire process, they employ an understanding and caring approach while delivering among the best spine care available.
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Spinal infections are the result of post-surgical infection or internal bacterial or fungal infection. Some of the most common types of spinal infections include:
- Vertebral osteomyelitis, which is infection of the vertebral bone. This is the most common type of spinal infection, resulting from bacterial infections in nearby locations or as a result of surgery on the spine.
- Discitis, which is infection of the vertebral discs.
- Epidural abscesses are collections of pus between the spinal cord and the surrounding vertebrae and nerve roots.
Risk Factors and Causes
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of spinal infection. Knowing these can help patients maintain due diligence in catching spinal infection during its early stages, allowing for rapid treatment. Such factors include:
- Poor nutrition
- HIV and other immunodeficiency disorders
Additionally, elderly patients and intravenous drug users may be more likely to get spinal infections than young, healthy adults.
Because a spinal infection can be caused by a previous surgery, other factors involved include the length of surgery, surgical instrumentation used, and number of operations performed. Urologic procedures also present a higher frequency of spinal infection due to the proximity between pelvic veins and spinal veins.
Symptoms of Spinal Infection
Symptoms of spinal infection range from mild to severe and include:
- Weakness in arms or legs
- Tingling or numbness in arms or legs
- Redness and excessive sensitivity of wound site
- Wound drainage
- Neck stiffness
Blood tests, blood cultures and biopsies are used to determine the type of bacteria present in the event of an infection. MRIs and CT scans may be used to determine the site of a lesion as a result of an infection.
Treatment for Spinal Infection
In treating spinal infection, the doctors at Hunt Spine first explore the least invasive options. In this way, they can still give their patients effective treatment without invasive surgery. Initial treatment options for spinal infection include antibiotics or anti-fungal medication to battle the infection.
In some cases, surgery may be required to cleanse the site of the infection and remove infected tissues. This is done if the infection does not respond to antibiotics. It may also be done if the infection has spread to a significant amount of bone or neurological tissue, resulting in functional impairment.
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Spinal instability can result from a variety of causes, including infection, fractures, tumors and other diseases or trauma. The resulting damage to the spine can lead to neurological symptoms created by pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots in and around the spine.
In cases of spinal instability, spinal fusion can be used to stabilize two or more vertebrae, preventing movement and slippage that can contribute to nerve pressure and back pain. Minimally invasive surgical methods can sometimes be used, which decreases tissue damage and speeds recovery.
Spinal deformities such as excessive scoliosis (lateral curvature of the spine) and kyphosis (a forward curvature of the back) can present a challenge during surgery as this condition often involves both flexible and rigid vertebrae. Spinal deformities may also develop from abnormal spine conditions which then place stress on other vertebrae. These conditions may include spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease.
Flatback syndrome, usually created by early methods of scoliosis surgery in the 70s and 80s, is a spinal deformity where the natural curve of the back has been flattened over time by surgical rods used to straighten the lateral curves of scoliosis. This too can now be corrected with modern surgical methods.
At Hunt Spine, our spine surgeons' expertise is perfectly suited to deliver the complex procedures necessary to resolve spinal deformities. They have years of experience helping patients find relief from debilitating spinal conditions. With collaborative neurological and spinal specialties, their multidisciplinary approach towards spinal care is crucial in performing sensitive surgeries. To learn more, please call our office today.
Multiple Spinal Conditions
Complex spinal conditions may be the result of multiple disorders and pathologies that interact together to generate back pain and discomfort. At Hunt Spine, a holistic approach is taken in addressing every patient’s condition so as to correct the root causes of leg and back pain, reduced mobility, spinal deformity and other manifestations of back and spine issues. To begin on your road to relief, please schedule a consultation.