Surgery is rarely required for whiplash treatment. Nevertheless, surgery is appropriate in instances that are severe if you have persistent neck or shoulder pain. If your state has not improved after extensive non-operative treatment, a surgery may be your best option.
Your spine surgeon will recommend the most effective surgical procedure for the harm. Make sure to ask lots of questions about the procedure so that you completely understand the way that it is done, exactly what the result will undoubtedly be, how long the recovery time is, etc. When it comes down to it, surgery is the choice alone: the surgeon can advocate it, but you possess the final say.
The type of operation is dependent upon what parts of your cervical spine happen to be injured.
Herniated or Ruptured Discs in the Neck
Throughout your injury, you may have ruptured or herniated an intervertebral disc, which is found between the vertebrae. This could create persistent arm pain, numbness, or weakness. In this case, disk removal may also be required. The surgeon removes all or a part of the damaged disc in a process called a discectomy.
After the discectomy, your physician may need to stabilize the region. Discectomies typically lead to an unstable spine, meaning that it goes in abnormal ways. That makes you more at risk for neurological harm that is serious. Then when surgeons do a discectomy, the spine often restabilizes.
The surgeon may use, to stabilize the spine:
Artificial Cervical Disc: It is a new� quite exciting and �development in spine surgery. Recently, surgeons have begun planting an artificial cervical disc following the discectomy. They’re using this instead of fusion and spinal instrumentation. The bonus is that a patient to keep normal neck motion after surgery is enabled by an artificial disk. Previously, in the event the patient had two or even more vertebrae fused, neck movement would be considerably reduced. Cervical discs are a fairly new technology; nonetheless, early results are encouraging.
Fusion and Spinal Instrumentation: This sort of back stabilization operation has been has been common for a long time. It can be performed alone or at the same time as a decompression operation. In spine stabilization, the surgeon creates an environment where the bones in your back will fuse together over time (generally over several months or longer). The surgeon uses a bone graft (generally using bone from a donor) or a biological substance (that’ll stimulate bone growth). Your surgeon may use spinal instrumentation�wires, cables, screws, rods, and plates�to increase stability and help fuse the bones. The fusion will cease motion involving the vertebrae, providing long term stability.
Spinal Stenosis in the Neck
Operation can also be needed in the event the injury causes a narrowing of the spinal canal in your neck. In this instance, a cervical corpectomy might be performed to remove a portion of the intervertebral disc and also the vertebra to reduce the pressure on nerves and the spinal cord. Your surgeon may do a laminectomy or a laminoplasty. The lamina, the bony plate that’s in the back of each vertebra is focused on by the two of those surgeries. It safeguards your spinal cord and spinal canal. The lamina may be pressing on your spinal cord, so the surgeon may make more room for the cord by removing section or all of the lamina�that’s a laminectomy.
The surgeon will re shape the lamina to form more room for your spinal cord. Plasty means “to shape.”
A cervical foraminotomy may be performed, if there is a narrowing of the space where the nerve exits the spinal canal. In this process, the foramen (the area where the nerve roots leave the spinal canal) is removed to increase the size of the nerve pathway. A A pathway that is larger causes it to be not as likely the nerve will soon be pinched or compressed.
Surgical Complications on the Neck
As with absolutely any operation, there are dangers involved with cervical spine surgery to treat whiplash symptoms. Your doctor will discuss potential risks along with you before asking you to sign a surgical consent form. Potential complications include, but aren’t limited to:
- Injury to nerves, your spinal cord, esophagus, carotid artery or vocal cords
- non-healing of the bony fusion (pseudoarthrosis)
- failure to improve
- instrumentation breakage/failure
- Disease and/or bone graft site pain
- pain and swelling in your leg veins (phlebitis)
- blood clots in your lung
- urinary problems
- Really rare complications: paralysis and possibly death
Complications could cause more surgery, so again �make sure you completely understand the risks along with your operation before proceeding. The decision for surgery is yours and yours alone.
Recovering from Whiplash Surgery
Following your surgery, you’re not going to be immediately better. You will most likely be out of bed within 24 hours, and you’ll be on pain medications for 2 to 4 weeks. Subsequent to the surgery, you’ll receive instructions on how to attentively sit, rise, and stand. It is crucial that you give your body time to recover, so your physician will most likely advise that you confine your actions: in general, don’t do anything that moves your neck. While you recover, you ought to avoid heavy lifting, twisting, or contact sports.
After surgery, be watchful. Report any problems�such as increased pain, temperature, or infection�to your physician without delay.
The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss options on the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Neck Pain and Auto Injury
After being involved in an automobile accident, the sheer force of the impact can often cause whiplash, a common type of neck injury resulting from the sudden, back-and-forth motion of the head against the body due to a car wreck, or other incident. Because of this, many of the complex structures found within the neck, including the spine, ligaments and muscles, can be stretched beyond their normal range, causing injury and painful symptoms.