When Spinal Surgery is Right for You (Pt. 3)

Now that we’ve come to part three of my spinal surgery blog series, we will cover even more spinal conditions, how they can be treated, and if surgery is necessary, specifically, those of the degenerative nature.

Degenerative spinal conditions often come with age, and can lead to chronic pain disruptive of one’s daily activities and lifestyle. Consider the constant weight and pressure applied to the spine and neck day in and day out. This, over a long period of time, can lead to loss of function. More specifically, discs begin to lose elasticity, ligaments start to calcify, and arthritic pain in general is increased.

Like with all conditions, medication and physical rehabilitation can provide more or less relief for certain individuals, but surgery may be required in more severe situations. Surgeries performed for degenerative disorders involve removing whatever part of the spine is causing the compression in order to relieve stress on the surrounding nerves, and thus, relieve pain. Some of those conditions include herniated discs, degenerated discs, and bone spurs.

  • herniated disc is when the inner material of said disc is exposed, compressing nearby spinal nerves. The surgical consideration to correct this includes removing the exposed material, or the entire disc.
  • Degenerative disc disease can occur in any motion segment /joint along the spine. When the cartilage lining the joints begins to wear out, those joints become irregular, much more stiff, and can begin to swell; another source of pressure being applied to the surrounding nerves. Surgery can range from complete removal/replacement of the joint causing the pain, to relieving the pressure in the nerves in order to relieve pain.
  • Bone spurs are the human body’s natural response to spinal column stresses. The bones attempt to straighten themselves out, which typically results in growths along the spine affecting nerve passages. Undergoing surgery for this requires removal of the spurs, or the entire joint depending on their severity.

If you or someone you know is affected by degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, arthritis, or bone spurs, consult your medical professional to discuss options before deciding on surgery. Regular rehabilitation can help in relieving pain, but minimally invasive surgery has been proven to be a safe, successful alternative.

Originally published on GilTepperMD.com


Los Angeles Free Spine Care: Putting Philanthropy Back in Medicine

Modern day medicine and professionals in this industry understand the importance of compassion and altruism now more than ever. A patient’s well being is the ultimate goal of successful doctors, and achieving this is made easier when they are given the necessary tools, those being advancements in technology that benefit the less fortunate.

Bill and Melinda Gates started the organization known as Grand Challenges to identify the world’s biggest health problems, and fund the researchers dedicated to solving them. This program was designed to compensate for areas in which “capitalism fails to meet the needs of the poor.” Efforts like this are what define philanthropy, which is why my partners and I started the Los Angeles Free Spine Care program through Miracle Mile Medical Center.

This is a charitable foundation created for individuals throughout Greater Los Angeles who suffer from spinal conditions and complications, providing a range of treatments. These include both operative and non-operative orthopedic, spine, podiatric, general surgery, interventional pain management, and rehabilitation programs costing nothing to patients who are uninsured.

Los Angeles Free Spine receives referrals from the Saban clinic and the Venice family clinic, who manage all medical, social, and other associated needs of the patients. The spine institute focuses on the spinal surgical spinal issues only.

Myself and the other clinicians at LAFS work directly with the Saban Clinic, facilitating timely, efficient medical care for all of our patients. The moment someone steps into our facility, they are met with open arms and managed by a skilled physician to best optimize the medical and social benefits that come during and after treatment, no matter what they are suffering from. Conditions may include lumbar herniation, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, or cervical myelopathy.

One such patient, Cesar Diolivera, said that he found enormous success through the LAFS program after undergoing surgery in 2012. “I had a lot of back pain,” he stated. “For about 4 years, I couldn’t stand up straight or walk more than half a block. The only relief I had was from lying down. My social life suffered. After surgery, I saw 100% improvement. I can walk 5-8 blocks without a problem, work for hours, socialize, and even go to the gym.”

Diolivera also noted that the scar following his surgery was very small. Minimally invasive surgery comes with a variety of benefits, including much less blood loss, lower chances of post-op infections or complications, and a faster recovery time; something we at LAFS pride ourselves on.

Incorporating philanthropy in the world of medicine does not require traveling across the globe to help those in underdeveloped countries. It starts with helping patients at home. At the Los Angeles Free Spine Care, our goal is to build a healthier city, one person at a time.