Neurosurgeons: Surgery May Not Be Necessary, But Don’t Ignore Back, Neck Symptoms
By Admin | June 30, 2021
“Back pain is common. I think by the age of 30 or 35, about 70 percent of people have missed work on account of back pain,” explains Michael Gomez, M.D., neurosurgeon and director of minimally invasive spinal surgery at Miami Neuroscience Institute, part of Baptist Health. “And we know that roughly 85 percent of people who have back and leg pain will get better on their own without surgery, somewhere within three months.
“So, typically when I counsel patients, if they’re able to live with it a little longer and see if it goes away, then we try to cool them off with some anti-inflammatory medicines. I typically have them wait six weeks to three months before we decide on having a surgery.”
Timothy Miller, M.D., neurosurgeon and director of functional neurosurgery at Marcus Neuroscience Institute, also part of Baptist Health, explains that often patients are referred by a primary care physician.
“I often tell patients, just start with your primary care physician,” says Dr. Miller. “They’re very good. In most cases, they can order the necessary imaging that would be required to see a neurosurgeon. And if you have these symptoms of back pain with radiation down into the lower extremity, there are very few other things that can mimic that. A neurosurgeon would be the next logical step.
“Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be getting offered surgery right off the bat. And in fact, you probably won’t unless there’s something really concerning.”
Recently, Drs. Gomez and Miller took part in a Baptist Health Instagram Live — Neurosurgery: Beyond the Brain. The host of the program who relayed questions from the public to the neurosurgeons was Jeannette Kaplun, editor of Hispana Global.
Here are highlights of the question-and-answer session. (Watch the full Instagram Live here.)
Ms. Kaplun: One of our viewers is a little nervous because her mother was just told that she needs surgery above her tailbone. Should they be nervous about this type of surgery in general?
“It depends on the surgery. The most common surgery that we do is a lumbar laminectomy or discectomy. So, that’s probably what she’s having done. And patients tend to do really well. I mean, most of the common surgeries that we do are, in spite of using a microscope and these really fancy retractors, are very traditional surgeries that have been done for years.
“So, when you have a surgery that’s so common, that’s been done for years, the results tend to be predictable, and they’re predictably good … She should do just fine.
Ms. Kaplun: Have you seen an uptick in brain spine problems due to COVID or during COVID?
“We have seen problems, neurological problems. But they’re not often surgical problems, right? We haven’t seen COVID causing brain tumors for instance, or advanced degenerative disease of the spine yet. It’s been around for a year now. So, I think the short answer is...(More)
For more info please read, Neurosurgeons: Surgery May Not Be Necessary, But Don’t Ignore Back, Neck Symptoms, by Baptist Health South Florida