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Lumbar Spine Procedures

The lumbar spine refers to the lower area of the spine between the pelvis and thoracic cage. It is made up of 5 vertebrae (although some people may have 6) that are stacked on top of each other with cushion-like intervertebral discs in between. The lower back is the largest movable segment of the vertebral column and is extremely vulnerable to disorders, making it the source of many pain complaints. Dr. Rawlins is experienced in treating the many problems that arise from the lumbar spine.

Lumbar Spine conditions Dr. Rawlins treats include:

Herniated Disc - A herniated disc, also referred to as a bulging, ruptured or slipped disc, is one that protrudes into the spinal canal and applies pressure to a nerve root. A herniated lumbar disc can cause pain in the back and all the way down the legs and feet. About 90% of herniated discs occur in the lumbar spine. Treatment for a herniated disc includes anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and steroid injections. Surgery is not usually required.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - As a result of age, intervertebral discs often become less spongy and smaller in height. The decreased support of these discs can cause the spinal cord to narrow and compress the surrounding nerves, causing pain and weakness in the lower back and legs. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs most frequently in older patients, and can be a result of arthritis. This condition can be treated with medications, steroids or physical therapy. More severe conditions often require surgery.

Lumbar Trauma - Trauma to the lumbar spine is usually the result of a fall or motor vehicle accident. Trauma to this area usually causes a compression fracture and the injury most frequently occurs at the thoracolumbar junction. A CT scan, ultrasound or radiograph is often used to determine the result of the trauma and the best treatment option. Treatment depends on the severity and location of the injury but can include pain medication, physical therapy or surgery.

Lumbar Deformity - Spinal deformities usually appear in the form of curves in the spine. They can be a result of a birth defect, trauma or other spine disease such as scoliosis. Treatment for spinal deformities can include medication, a spinal brace, physical therapy or surgery.

Dr. Rawlins takes great care in treating our patients with lumbar spine disorders. We are proud to offer the following treatment options:

Lumbar Microdiscectomy - A microdiscectomy is performed to relieve pressure on nerve roots caused by a herniated disc. A microscope is inserted through a tiny incision in the lower back to view the pinched nerve and then remove the portion of the disc that is applying pressure on it.

Lumbar Laminectomy - A lumbar laminectomy also relieves the pressure of a pinched nerve, but does so by removing a portion of the lamina, the bony rim around the spinal canal. This procedure is often used to treat spinal stenosis and disc degeneration. An X-ray is often used to ensure accuracy of this procedure.

Spine Fusion Surgery - Spine fusion is a surgical procedure used to link together vertebrae, often because of a damaged disc. During surgery, bone growth is stimulated and then used to link the vertebrae together to stop the painful movement in the area.

Lumbar Disc Replacement - A lumbar disc replacement is a relatively new procedure for treating lower back pain and relieving herniated and degenerated discs. Disc replacement is offered as an alternative to spine fusion surgery which causes limited movement and more stress on the back. This procedure replaces the damaged disc with a more natural implant that allows for more fluid motion in the affected area.

We also provide treatment for lumbar spinal tumors, deformities and other disorders. Dr. Rawlins is specially trained in treating the specific conditions of the lumbar spine. Call today to make an appointment.

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