The new bulging disc surgery?
I just read an interesting article about a bulging disc surgery that was performed at
King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust, in London, England (reported by Rachel Ellis in MailOnline.com).
You know, once upon a time, all back surgeries were done in a fashion that is called ‘open surgery’.
As you might guess, that means that the surgeon makes a rather large incision in the back,
so the tissue surrounding the spine and the bulging disc is exposed. There is a fair amount of tissue
disruption involved, beginning with the skin, then multiple layers of muscle tissue.
Sure, the surgeon can see well (and who wouldn’t want that?), but the recovery time from such a surgery
can be as long as a few months, just for the tissue repair.
Then, there’s the physical therapy that goes along with retraining the muscles.
The muscles, of course were imbalanced to begin with, and that is commonly how the disc began to bulge to begin with.
You know, the cause of the asymmetrical stresses that are put on the spinal joint that results in excess and uneven wear and tear.
So, the rehab takes a while as well as the healing time.
Anyway, what the surgeon (Irfan Malik) did was called keyhole endoscopic spinal surgery.
What the procedure involves is making one incision that is about 5mm (really small) long,
and about 10 mm (4 inches) to the side of the spine.
That’s where a little endoscope is inserted. You might have heard about endoscopes with regard to a
colonoscopy, but they are obviously quite a bit larger. Nonetheless, the endoscope is still a tube
that has a tiny camera attached to it, and inside the tube are the surgical instruments.
Of course, the surgical instruments cut and remove the pieces of the bulging disc,
and it’s over in about an hour.
Now here’s the part that really caught me offguard…
Wait for it…
Reportedly, a “plaster” (sounds like a Band-Aid) is put on the incision, and the patient goes home – most of
them within 2 hours!
So, with this type of surgery, the likelihood of blood clots, scarring and infection is significantly dimished.
Not only that, the possibility of spinal fluid leaking from a nick in the tissue surrounding the spinal cord
becomes very small.
And, the patient does not have to get a general anaesthetic, which always has unwanted effects.
So, having had back surgery (of the open kind) before I got my Doctorate in Chiropractic, I think this
sounds pretty darn cool.
Not that I am a fan of surgery, but this is pretty Star-Trekky in my humble opinion.
The only problem is that this surgery has only been performed on about 20 people so far, and only in
So, I hope that you have no need for this sort of advice, but if you need surgery for a bulging disc, head for