At Beacon Hospital, our team of experienced Consultant Spinal Surgeons and Neurosurgeons have expertise in treating back and neck conditions.
Treatment options range from non-surgical treatments, including physiotherapy and injections, through to all surgical options. Many patients presenting with spinal problems simply do not, and will not require an operation, and may respond to simple treatment with physiotherapy or an injection. We work closely with our colleagues in physiotherapy to help prescribe the most appropriate course of non-operative management when that is appropriate.
Your initial multidisciplinary assessment will involve a physiotherapist who will undertake an individual assessment of your case. A general health assessment will first be completed including an assessment of your overall medical conditions, BMI, exercise regime, and diet.
Your physiotherapist will then complete a thorough clinical assessment of your spine, nervous system and joints. There may be some element of undressing, and we encourage patients to wear sensible clothing such as a vest top and/or comfortable shorts.
Any serious spinal or neurological condition that requires immediate referral to a spine surgeon or an urgent MRI scan will be identified. All cases are reviewed by the multidisciplinary team including a consultant spine surgeon and pain specialist and the most suitable treatment options for each patient identified.
This assessment allows identification of patients with simple back or neck pain, or nerve root pain that may be best managed through starting a comprehensive course of treatment with our specialised spinal physiotherapists. In addition, many of these conditions may be rapidly treated with minimally invasive pain-relieving procedures such as x-ray guided cortisone injections.
If further investigations are required after your assessment, we will help you access these. Further tests may include:
- Plain X-Rays to look at the overall alignment of the spine.
- MRI scans with contrast dyes to evaluate nerve compression.
- CT scans to assess bony deformities or fractures.
- Nerve Conduction Studies to assess neurological compression.
- CT SPECT scans to assess significant degenerative changes in the spinal column.
If further investigations are recommended, the team will organise for this in consultation with you. You will receive a comprehensive report of your case following the assessment and we will work with you to develop your treatment plan and this will be forwarded onto to your GP / Physiotherapist.
The vast majority of spinal conditions do not require surgery and can be treated simply, using exercises, manipulations, dry needling and spinal injections.
Assessment and Diagnostics
Common Spinal Procedures
A Discectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the damaged portion of a herniated disk in your spine. A herniated disk can irritate or compress your nearby nerves, causing pain and discomfort. This procedure is the most effective way of treating your pain as it radiates down your arm or legs.
A herniated disk occurs when some of the softer material inside the disk pushes out through a crack in the tougher exterior. This procedure may be recommended for patients who have trouble standing or walking due to nerve weakness or when pain radiating into their buttocks, legs, arms or chest becomes unbearable.
A Foraminotomy is a surgical procedure used to enlarge the area around one of the bones in the spinal canal. Occasionally, the openings between vertebrae become too small causing the nerves to compress. This causes pain, tingling in the arms and legs and an overall sense of weakness.
During this procedure, your surgeon will make an incision on your back or neck and expose the affected vertebrae. Through this they are able to surgically widen your intervertebral foramen, removing any blockages which are present.
Kyphoplasty / Vertebroplasty
Vertebroplasty is a procedure used to stabilise compression fractures in the spine. The process involves injecting Bone cement into the back bones which have been damaged. Back bones can become cracked or broken as a result from osteoporosis.
Vertebroplasty can relieve pain, increase mobility and drastically reduce the use of pain medication. Kyphoplasty, though quite similar to vertebroplasty, uses special balloons to create spaces within the vertebrae which are then filled with bone cement. Kyphoplasty can correct spinal deformity and restore lost height.
Laminectomy is a surgical procedure that creates space by removing the lamina, which is the back part of a vertebra covering the spinal canal. The process aims to enlarge your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. The pressure is generally caused by bony overgrowths within the spinal canal, which can occur in people who have arthritis in their spines.
Otherwise known as bone spurs, these are a normal side-effect in aging process in some people. People who experience muscle weakness or numbness which in turn causes their mobility to be inhibited, may benefit from this surgery.
Rhyzolysis (Lumbar Facet)
Rhizolysis is a minimally invasive procedure using the application of radiofrequency. The aim of this procedure is to cause targeted heat damage to the nerves that supply the facet. This stops pain signals being sent back to the spine.
Patients undergoing this procedure will be put under a general anaesthetic before fine, hollow needles are passed toward the nerves under CT or X-ray guidance. When the needle is in the correct position, a probe is then passed through the needle to administer the heat.
Spinal Fusion is surgery to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in your spine. In turn, this surgery essentially eliminates motion between them. The surgery involves techniques to mimic a normal healing process of broken bones.
During the procedure, your surgeon places either bone or bone like material within the space between two spinal vertebrae. In some cases metal plates, screws or rods may be used to hold vertebrae together so they can heal into one solid piece.
The National Spine Institute
The National Spine Institute is also located at Beacon Hospital. The National Spine Institute offers care for patients presenting with the full range of spinal conditions. Patients treated include both paediatric and adult patients. The team undertake over 1,000 spinal procedures a year and treat almost 10,000 patients, with conditions ranging from degenerative spinal conditions such as lumbar or cervical discectomies and fusions, through to complex tumour and deformity correction cases.
For more information on the National Spine Institute please see their website.