WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) When physical therapy, injections and all other options faiL, the solution to back pain usually results in surgery.
Thankfully, spinal cord procedures nowadays have come a long way as far as simplicity and recovery time goes. Yet, it is limited to those who need it most; just ask Dr. Lee Kern.
“It depends on your imaging studies, your exam findings and largely what the chronicity of your problems is. People who tend to have chronic low back pain from old injuries and things are more difficult to treat than acute problems and present with something such as a herniated disk.”Kern, MD.
In his 23 years of experience as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Kern says he and others are bringing minimally invasive procedures to the forefront of United Regional. Larger open back surgeries use to require a lot more time and pain management, not to mention the use of opioid medications. With minimally invasive back surgery, things are done more efficiently with digital scoping and assisted technology. According to Dr. Kern, these procedures usually last 45 minutes to an hour and patients can go home the same day.
“In a minimally invasive fashion, that’s something we’ve now brought to the Wichita Falls area which saves folks from having to go to a larger center. Post-operatively there are three visits you need to do with your surgeon to kind of get back to a routine, and that’s obviously from a logistical standpoint better if it can be done closer to home. “Kern, MD.
Here’s what minimally invasive back surgery look like:
“You’re going to meet the anesthesiologist the morning of surgery and they’re going to get IV’s started on you, and then bring in fluoroscopic guidance to line our hardware up over the area of entries. With that marking done, we can then begin the procedure with a small incision just over the spine and put in this small tube retractor, and bring in a microscope and go down and do the work next to the nerve to decompress it, and then take all that out and sew it up and you end up with a small one inch incision. “Kern, MD.
This surgery is also being presented as an option to the public to lessen the need to take strong opioids during recovery, and combat the ongoing opioid epidemic.
“We usually use Tylenol 3 which is, in a lot of cases, overkill. Most people are going to be off narcotics in two to three days and getting back to a regular routine in about two to four weeks usually.”Kern, MD.
If you think you or someone you know qualifies or would benefit from minimally invasive back surgery, click here.