More often than not, the last thing patients suffering from neck or back conditions want to hear is that they need spine surgery. When conservative approaches like pain management, chiropractic modalities, physical therapy, and others can only provide temporary relief, surgery may serve as a pathway to better health and long-term success.
At New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C., Dr. Sandro LaRocca is well-versed in helping patients realize the lasting benefits of spine surgery. If you or a loved one has been told that you need spinal surgery and have exhausted conservative treatment approaches, learn if surgery and its long-term benefits are a potential option for you.
With a wide range of conservative treatments available, many patients would rather use trial-and-error to find an option that will spare them from surgery. Not only can repeated attempts at ineffective treatments prolong a patient’s overall recovery time, but non-surgical options can serve as a bandage that masks symptoms – not repairs them.
Instead of thinking of surgical options as a last resort, he works with patients with various conditions to consider whether they are a good candidate for surgery through informed decision making based on data. Generally, surgical procedures bolster the spine’s stabilization and eliminate spinal nerve compression to provide patients with a long-term solution to their symptoms. Opting for surgery comes with a host of benefits, including:
Many patients start with the premise that surgery should be avoided at all costs whenever possible. Yet as Dr. LaRocca reminds his patients, in certain circumstances, surgical spine procedures have been proven to be an effective treatment option compared with conservative alternatives. Several studies support this perspective, including those conducted based on the following procedures:
One study found that a laminectomy, also known as decompression surgery, for spinal stenosis was more effective in four out of five cases than non-surgical treatment options. That same study also concluded that steroid epidural injections weren’t nearly as effective as undergoing a laminectomy.
Published in 2006 by the Journal of the American Medical Association, the “Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT)” compared the surgical and non-surgical results of patients with sciatica. It found that though both groups showed improvement, those who underwent surgery experienced more rapid improvement and higher satisfaction than those who chose non-operative treatment.
Furthermore, Dr. LaRocca’s patients with sport-related injuries or conditions typically see better eight- and 10-year outcomes following spine surgery as opposed to non-surgical patients.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that surgery is not the right choice for every condition and every patient. Surgery is most often suggested when other treatment options have been exhausted or a surgeon advises it as the best course of action for a specific condition. Every patient should consult with an experienced surgeon who can assess their individual needs and recommend the right treatment, whether that’s physical therapy, medication, or surgical intervention.
To help patients improve quality of life and achieve optimal outcomes, Dr. LaRocca talks extensively with each individual about their unique care plans, recovery expectations from surgery, and more. He also discusses the type of surgical procedure that will be most helpful for their diagnosis and safest for their current state of health. After a consultation, patients can feel confident that surgery is the best option or that their condition is better treated with other modalities based on Dr. LaRocca’s assessment.
Conservative approaches like chiropractic care, medications, and physical therapy might be suitable for some conditions. When a patient’s injury or condition fits well established protocols for surgery to be recommended, however, Dr. LaRocca and the team at New Jersey Neck & Back Institute, P.C. are standing by to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.