Spinal trauma surgeries

After a traumatic event, your spinal column and spinal cord may have incurred significant damage. Vertebrae are the bones that form the spinal column, which protects your spinal cord. Trauma may cause a region of your spine could be unstable, compress or fracture.  Spine surgery can resolve these issues by decompressing the spinal cord or re-stabilizing the spine.

Depending upon your causative factors, your doctor may use different approaches to reach your vertebrae, correct their position, and prevent movement.

Indications of spinal trauma surgeries

Minimally invasive spine surgery techniques may be indicated for a number of medical conditions including:

  • Spine trauma
  • Unstable fractures with or without spinal cord injury
  • Flexion and extension-distraction injuries
  • Unstable sacral fractures
  • Blunt trauma
  • Poly-trauma compression fractures,
  • Burst and wedge compression

Surgery may indicated in patients have who have severe trauma or unstable fracture. The goals of treatment in managing spine trauma are prevention of neurological injury, providing stability to the spine, and correcting post-traumatic deformity.

Minimally invasive spinal trauma surgical procedure

The surgery will be performed by an orthopaedic surgeon, who will decide the surgical approach based on your condition. The surgery takes place under general anaesthesia which puts you to sleep so that you don’t feel any pain during the surgery.

An incision is usually made on your back or the side depending on the approach decided by your surgeon. Your back muscles and other structures are moved aside to reveal the operating area. Depending on the type of trauma you have suffered, you may need decompression surgery or spine stabilising surgery.

Decompression surgery is done to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves by removing damaged structures such as a herniated disc, fractured bone or soft tissues pressing on the cord and nerves. This can help by creating space around these structures.

Spinal stabilization surgery often includes placing different types of implantable devices, such as rods, screws, plates, or interbody cages to provide stability or encourage healing. Often, spinal stabilisation surgery in accompanied by fusion procedure. Spinal fusion involves using bone material (your own bone or donor bone may be used) to pack into and around implanted devices to stimulate bony ingrowth and healing. In some cases, both decompression and stabilization surgery may need to be performed.

 After the necessary procedures are completed, all the structures are moved back to normal position and the incision is closed by the surgeon.

Postoperative patient-care

Once the surgery is done, you may feel soreness around the incision area, this will decrease within a few days or weeks. You may be prescribed pain medications to manage the pain. Your doctor may take some X-rays or CT scans to determine your progress after the surgical procedure. You may be advised to eat a diet with high levels of calcium and vitamin D to promote bone healing.


Depending on the type of trauma you had, your doctor may not be able to give you a prognosis right away. The quickest recovery is often in the first six months, but some people experience small improvements for up to one to two years.


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