Put your best foot forward
This information has been designed to give you a basic understanding of your spine, the surgeries performed, and what to expect during your hospitalisation. Please keep in mind that this is a guideline only and that each individual has different needs so you may progress at a different rate to that which is outlined.
Your Orthopaedics SA specialist will be happy to address any questions which might arise after reading this information.
Back pain or backache may originate from an injury to the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. Back pain is one of the most common problems experienced by a majority of individuals, at some point of their lives. Some of the common terms for back pain include lumbago, back sprain or strain, slipped disc, sciatica and pinched nerve.
Spinal fusion is the surgical technique of combining two or more vertebrae. Fusion of the vertebrae involves insertion of secondary bone tissue obtained either through auto graft (tissues from the same patient) or allograft (tissues from the other person) to augment the bone healing process.
Artificial disc replacement is a surgical method of replacing the diseased or damaged intervertebral discs of the spinal column with an artificial disc to restore motion to the spine. It can be considered as an alternative to spinal fusion for patients with back pain.
Herniation of the disc is a medical condition affecting the spine in which the inner central portion (nucleus pulposus) of the spinal disc is forced out through a tear in the outer, fibrous ring (annulus fibrosus) of an intervertebral disc. Herniated disc is also known as a bulging disc, ruptured disc or slipped disc.
Spinal stenosis is the compression of spinal nerves caused by narrowing of spinal canal and it is one of the common causes of low back pain. The symptoms include back pain, burning or aching type of pain in buttocks that radiates to the legs (sciatica), weakness in the legs or "foot drop”. The most common cause of spinal stenosis is ageing. As age advances the chances of developing osteoarthritis, disc degeneration and thickening of ligaments may increase and these conditions cause spinal stenosis. The other causes include Paget’s disease, achondroplasia, spinal tumours and spinal injuries.