Many people suffer from back pain on a day-to-day basis, affecting their schedule and overall happiness. This is why they may choose to have spinal surgery done. If you have been living in pain due to spinal conditions and have been told you need spine surgery, come to Princeton Neurological Surgery. Dr. John D. Lipani board-certified, fellowship-trained Neurosurgeon and top spine surgery specialist, specializing in complex spine surgery, treating patients in New Jersey. Dr. Lipani is unique in that he is able to offer his patients invasive, minimally invasive and non-invasive treatment options. Unlike other Neurosurgeons in New Jersey, Dr. Lipani will provide you a thorough consultation in which he will provide you his recommended treatment options based on what you are experiencing. He will listen to all of your concerns, evaluate your diagnosis, and provide you detailed information about surgical treatment.
What Is Spine Surgery?
Spine surgery is a procedure that is performed in order to alleviate pain due to spinal disorders. The surgery changes a patient’s anatomy by removing or fusing parts of the spine. Spine surgery is only considered after non-surgical treatment options have failed and pain has not subsided. The types of spine surgery range from minimally invasive to more complex procedures.
At Princeton Neurological Surgery, Dr. Lipani offers excellence in minimally invasive and complex spine surgery to patients in New Jersey. He most commonly performs spinal fusion surgery, laminectomy, and microdiscectomy. Dr. Lipani also treats patients who require revision spinal surgery and those who are considered too challenging to be treated at other institutions.
When Do You Know You Need Spine Surgery?
It may be comforting to learn that the majority of back pain sufferers do not require spine surgery. Most back pain results from muscle strain or spasm. Other common diagnoses include chronic degenerative arthritic changes that affect the spinal column and intervertebral discs.
Deciding whether to undergo spine surgery can be a big decision for an individual. However, not all spine surgery is elective. If your spinal cord is compromised, urgent spinal surgery may be recommended in an effort to preserve function.
Choose Dr. Lipani As Your Spine Surgeon
What Our Patients Have to Say
“Dr. Lipani is the finest neurosurgeon! Compassionate, Caring, Down to Earth with his professionalism; he is the best! My son Alan, had an L-4/ L/5 Spine Fusion, 7.5 hour surgery and I can not thank the “Great Doctor”/Surgeon for his dedication, kindness and caring.” – Alan B.
“The Doctor outstanding in every way possible. Explaining every detail and taking his time to do so. Amazing for a surgeon to be so informing of the procedure to me and my wife. After the surgery he came out and explained everything to me. My wife is doing great after the cervical spine fusion, moving her arm in ways she hasn’t in years and getting her feeling back in her fingers” – Anthony R.
“Dr. Lipani and his staff are excellent. Dr. Lipani was very thorough. He explained what needed to be treated and why. He has terrific bedside manners. He answered all my questions patiently. Did not rush me at any time. I recommended him to one of my friends and she was extremely happy with him too.” – Poornima S.
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Symptoms That May Require Spine Surgery
No one wants to live in pain, so if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, spinal surgery could help you. Typical symptoms that may require urgent spinal surgery include:
- Sudden onset of arm or leg weakness
- Numbness in the trunk
- Difficulty with fine hand motor control
- Gait clumsiness
- Spastic gait
- Bowel and/or bladder dysfunction
- Perianal numbness.
- Debilitating back pain that does not respond to medication
Can Permanent Spinal Damage Occur If Left Untreated?
It is never a good idea to put off necessary surgery, for any type of issue. When your body is not functioning properly, reach out to a medical professional to find the best treatment for you. Delaying spine surgery in severe cases may result in irreversible nerve damage. Additionally, non-urgent spinal conditions may develop into urgent conditions that gradually or suddenly compromise neurologic function.
In rare cases of spinal stenosis, permanent nerve damage can occur because of the pressure being applied to the nerve roots. If this happens, the patient can develop permanent numbness and/or weakness in the area served by the nerve. This can lead to problems with balance and incontinence over time.
Spinal Conditions Treated With Surgery
There are many spinal conditions that patients can suffer from in which spinal surgery is necessary. When there are issues with spinal functionality, it can result in pain in the neck, shoulder and back area. The following are some of the most frequently experienced spinal conditions.
Which Spine Surgery Is Best For Me?
There are many options for spine surgery. Dr. Lipani will discuss your condition and the appropriate procedures with you. In some cases, such as when treating stenosis, surgery may not alleviate all of the pain. In every case, except for severe pain and urgent conditions, patients should explore conservative treatments prior to having surgery. These are the types of spine surgery that Dr. Lipani may recommend based on your diagnosis:
Spinal fusion is a procedure performed when the spinal column becomes dangerously unstable and requires stabilization. During surgery, Dr. Lipani joins together two or more vertebrae in the spine so there is no longer movement between them. This is done by placing bone or bone-like material between the vertebrae. In addition, plates, screws, and rods can be added for extra support. After healing, the vertebrae heal together into one unit and any pain from spine movement is now gone.
Spinal Stenosis Surgery
For patients experiencing spinal stenosis, surgery relieves pressure on the spinal cord while also maintaining the integrity of the site. Dr. Lipani performs procedures such as a laminectomy or spinal fusion to return the damaged bone back to its normal state. While spinal fusion joins together vertebra, a laminectomy involves the removal of the lamina, vertebra, and ligaments to make room for nerves.
Herniated Disc Surgery
A herniated disc is a condition that occurs when the disc, located between the bones, or vertebrae of the spine becomes damaged. There are several surgical solutions for patients that have a herniated disc depending on the severity of the condition. These treatments can include arthroplasty, which involves resurfacing the bones, or spinal fusion. Additionally, patients can undergo a discectomy, removal of a portion of the herniated disc, or laminotomy, partial removal of the lamina. All procedures aim to alleviate pressure from the damaged disc.
Spine Surgery Testimonial
Spinal Surgery Recovery
Recovery time from spine surgery, as you would expect, depends on what type of surgery you undergo along with the degree of your symptoms before surgery. No matter what surgery, recovery is complicated and involved. Dr. Lipani will discuss what to expect for your particular surgery during your consultation. As a baseline, healing time usually takes about:
- 6 weeks for herniated disc surgery
- 12 weeks for a laminectomy or discectomy
- 6 months for spinal fusion.
With any spine surgery, you’ll be in the hospital for at least 1-3 days. Some patients start physical therapy as soon as 24 hours after surgery, focusing on range-of-motion exercises. It is important that after going home that patients do not lay on the couch for hours. It is better to sit upright, keep your back straight, and avoid twisting the spine. This will need to be your mindset, even when you start driving and return to work. Additionally, any type of lifting is prohibited for at least 6 weeks. Patients will have follow-up appointments with Dr. Lipani to assess the progress of your healing.
Risks of Spine Surgery
Spinal surgery risks depend on the type of surgery. The biggest risk with any type of spine surgery is not being sure the surgery will successfully alleviate your pain. Spinal surgery complications are rare but can include:
- Nerve root damage
- Bowel or bladder incontinence
- Cerebrospinal fluid leak from a dural sac breach
- Unsuccessful fusion
- Hardware problems
- Failing or migrating cages and grafts
- Instability from removing bone to relieve pressure
- Reaction to anesthesia
Conservative Treatments Before Spinal Surgery
We want our potential spine surgery patients to first explore all other avenues before deciding they need surgery. Unless surgical intervention is urgent, Dr. Lipani usually has patients come in for a consultation and then wait for at least six weeks before proceeding with surgery. This allows the exploration of various conservative, non-surgical treatments to see if they can alleviate the pain the patient is experiencing. After all, only around five percent of back and spine problems eventually require surgery. Some conservative treatment options include:
- Pain medication
- Heat or ice
- Changing sedentary behavior
- Epidural steroid injections
Schedule A Consultation With Dr. Lipani
Dr. Lipani is capable of providing you with the advice, recommendations, and spine surgery procedures to assist you in living a full and comfortable life again. To learn more about our spine surgery procedures, contact Princeton Neurological Surgery. Call us at (609) 890-3400 to schedule a consultation with Dr. John Lipani in New Jersey. Our practice serves Hamilton, Bridgewater, Morristown, NJ and surrounding areas.