Lumbar Corpectomy

Lumbar corpectomy is a surgical procedure used to treat certain spinal conditions that involve the removal of a portion of one or more vertebral bodies in the lumbar (lower back) spine. This procedure is performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots, correct spinal deformities, and stabilize the spine. It's often used to treat conditions such as severe disc herniations, tumors, fractures, infections, and spinal deformities.

Here's an overview of the lumbar corpectomy procedure:

  1. Patient Evaluation: Candidates for lumbar corpectomy are individuals with conditions that cause spinal cord or nerve compression, leading to symptoms such as pain, numbness, weakness, and difficulty walking. Imaging studies like MRI or CT scans help assess the extent of the problem.

  2. Surgery: The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia. An incision is made in the patient's back over the affected lumbar vertebrae.

  3. Vertebral Body Removal: The surgeon carefully removes a portion of one or more vertebral bodies, along with any damaged tissue or tumors. This creates space within the spinal canal and relieves pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

  4. Stabilization: After the vertebral bodies are removed, the spine needs to be stabilized to maintain alignment and prevent instability. This is often achieved using instrumentation like metal plates, screws, and rods, or through spinal fusion techniques.

  5. Bone Graft: In some cases, bone graft material may be inserted into the space created by the removed vertebral body. This promotes bone healing and fusion between the adjacent vertebral bodies.

  6. Closure: Once the necessary procedures are completed, the incision is closed with sutures or staples.

Benefits of lumbar corpectomy include:

  • Decompression: The procedure effectively relieves pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, which can alleviate pain, numbness, and weakness.

  • Spinal Stabilization: The addition of hardware or fusion techniques helps stabilize the spine and prevent further deformities.

  • Potential for Improved Function: By relieving spinal cord or nerve compression, lumbar corpectomy can potentially lead to improved neurological function and quality of life.

  • Correction of Deformities: The procedure can correct spinal deformities that may be causing pain or functional impairments.

However, lumbar corpectomy is a complex surgery that carries potential risks and complications, including infection, bleeding, nerve damage, hardware failure, and spinal instability. The decision to undergo lumbar corpectomy is made after thorough evaluation by a spine specialist, who considers factors such as the patient's specific condition, overall health, and potential benefits and risks of the surgery. As with any surgical procedure, patients should discuss their options and concerns with their healthcare provider before making a decision.

Spine Physicians Institute treats back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, stenosis and other spine problems. Patients come to the spine center from across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Dr. Sethuraman is one of few Mayo Clinic fellowship-trained spine surgeons in the North Texas area. A fellowship is the highest level of medical education in the U.S.

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