Urban Legends Delay Surgery for Herniated Back

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Medicana Sivas Hospital Neurosurgery Professor Dr. Mustafa Gürelik stated that urban legends in lumbar hernia cause delays in the treatment of some patients and the problems become more complex, and said that some patients seek alternative treatments that are far from medicine, mind and science.

prof. Dr. Mustafa Gürelik, explaining which problems should be operated on, said, “Surgery is performed in the lumbar or other spine departments in cases of spinal and spinal cord injuries, tumors, infections, congenital anomalies and degeneration of the spine. The most common of these problems are diseases related to spinal degeneration, and therefore most of the surgeries are related to these diseases. said.

Speaking about the surgical techniques, Gürelik said, “There are two basic problems and two corresponding basic techniques in spine and spinal cord diseases. The problem is that either the spinal cord and the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord are compressed or it affects the strength, structure and movement characteristics of the spine. Accordingly, spinal cord or nerve compression is eliminated or structural and functional problems in the spine are treated during surgery. Depending on the type and location of the disease, the surgery can be performed from the front, back or sometimes the side of the spine. Materials such as implant bone are sometimes used in surgeries. High-tech devices such as microscopes and endoscopes are used in surgeries. he said.

Emphasizing that the surgery is quite safe, Gürelik said, “Technological development, knowledge and experience in these diseases and their treatments make the surgeries in the treatment of many diseases very safe. Among the diseases mentioned above, surgical treatment of scoliosis, which we can call spinal cord tumors and spinal misalignment, presents some difficulties compared to other diseases. However, advanced technology devices called neuromonitors, which help us to observe spinal cord and nerve functions during surgery, can warn surgeons before or when damage occurs. Thus, surgeries can become safer.” he said.

Expressing that patients are afraid of having back surgery, Gürelik said, “Unfortunately; There is an urban legend circulating in society that 'those who have back surgery become paralyzed'. Although there is no paralysis, there are patients in the society who have not benefited from back surgery. Most of these patients consist of patients who underwent surgery for lumbar hernia. Only 1% of herniated discs that cause nerve compression require surgery. Most patients recover with rest or non-surgical treatments. Reasons for surgery in patients with lumbar hernia; long-lasting pain, significant loss of function due to nerve root compression, and severe pain that does not respond to other treatments. In severe loss of function, emergency surgery may be necessary. It is the right approach to apply non-operative treatments for 1 to 3 months in patients without severe nerve function loss.” used his statements.

Gürelik continued his statement as follows:

“To put forward the diseases related to degeneration of the spine, especially lumbar hernia, the most basic rule is to determine the reason for the surgery well. In 30% of patients with unsuccessful results, especially in surgeries performed for herniated disc, the reason is the lack of correct justification for surgery. In other words, it is the operation of the patient that should not be operated on. Less common causes are poor surgical technique and complications that occur during or after surgery. Accordingly, if the correct diagnosis is made, the correct treatments are planned, and the operation is performed with a good technique, high successes are achieved in all surgeries. The urban legend unfortunately causes delays in the treatment of some patients and complicates the problems. In fact, it pushes patients to seek alternative treatments other than medicine, far from reason and science. Keeping in mind that high success is achieved in surgery when the correct diagnosis, correct technique and experience come together, I recommend that patients trust their physicians and not delay their treatment.

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