I’m often asked by patients who are contemplating surgery about my approach: Will the incision be big? Is it arthroscopic? Do I use lasers? My approach is completely dependent on each patient’s diagnosis and what our experience at the Spine Center tells us gives the best result for that diagnosis. I’m interested in outcomes that are lasting and durable, and sometimes that means I have to make major corrections which necessitate long incisions.
For example, last week I had the opportunity to dramatically change a patient’s life for the better. A woman came to see me with kyphoscoliosis (abnormal curvature) of the cervical spine, which, over time, left her chin resting on her chest, slightly askew. She had restricted range of motion in her neck; she was unable to walk or get around much because she couldn’t safely see where she was going, crushing her quality of life. For some conditions of the neck, a short, minimally-invasive procedure done as an outpatient is the perfect solution. But this woman’s extreme condition took eight hours of complex cervical spine reconstruction.
I’m proud to say that today she is walking tall, looking everyone straight in the eye again. When you weigh the vastly improved quality of life with the size of her scar, the length of the incision seems irrelevant to me. So while I often perform small-incision, quick-recovery, outpatient surgery, and I realize this is what many people would prefer, what I love most is relieving your pain and restoring well-being to your life using whatever procedure necessary.
If you are interested in learning more about your own spine condition and what procedure may be warranted, I am happy to meet with you and discuss your options.
Thanks for reading!
Jason Thompson, MD