Fall 2012 Issue

Spinal Deformity Surgery
Complex Procedures Can Reshape Patients’ Futures

before spine surgery
Before - The patient developed a flat back and scoliosis after previous multiple lumbar operations, including a fusion and several discectomies.
After - A revision fusion was performed with osteotomies to correct the deformity. 
Spinal deformity surgery and complex spinal reconstruction surgery are necessary in cases where a deformity or misalignment is affecting a large segment of the spine or pressure on the spinal nerves must be relieved. Usually, the purpose of the surgery is to correct the curvature, stabilize the spine with instrumentation, and fuse the affected vertebrae. The need for spinal reconstruction surgery may arise from the following conditions:

Spinal Tumor – A spinal tumor can cause the spine to become unstable and may require procedures to remove the tumor and prevent instability.

Degenerative Conditions – Conditions such as scoliosis, kyphosis, Scheuermann’s disease, spondylolisthesis, or spinal fracture can all cause a curvature to the spine.

Pseudoarthrosis – This condition occurs when vertebrae fail to fuse after spinal fusion surgery. The most common cause of pseudoarthrosis is smoking. Other risk factors include malnutrition, obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Pseudoarthrosis or other factors can lead to the need for revision spinal surgery.

Dr. Kevin Cahill
Dr. Cahill
“Revision spinal surgery can be even more complex because it’s often necessary to remove instrumentation and bone from previous surgeries and fusions,” said fellowship-trained spine surgeon Kevin Cahill, MD, PhD, MPH, of Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. Dr. Cahill specializes in revision fusion procedures.

Minimally Invasive Procedures
Even with the complexity involved with spinal deformity surgery, it is possible to use minimally invasive procedures, such as XLIF (eXtreme Lateral Interbody Fusion), to treat many conditions. With XLIF, our spine surgeons use a surgical approach from the side rather than from the front or the back in order to access the disc space. The specific factors and intricacies of each patient’s case determine which techniques can be most effective.

To learn more about the spinal deformity surgery options available at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates or to contact Dr. Kevin Cahill, call 800-344-6716.
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