Spinal Cord Decompression: What You Need to Know

Recent studies have shown that spinal cord decompression can be a beneficial treatment for spinal metastasis. However, this depends on many factors which demand that the treatment be used on a case-by-case basis when appropriate. Those currently suffering from spinal metastasis and considering undergoing this procedure should be aware of the facts involved and the factors that control spinal cord decompression in order to understand how it works and how it can help.

Spinal Metastasis and the Need for Decompression

Spinal metastasis occurs when cancer cells spread from one organ or tissue in the body to the spine. Pressure may occur when the tumor either pushes directly down on or near the spinal cord, and this pressure must be relieved. Often, it can be painful as well as deadly. Using only radiation therapy on a tumor that is pressing straight against the spinal cord may not reach all parts of the tumor, leaving it unaffected by the treatment (and often allowing the cancer to come back at a later time). This is when the use of decompression surgery is most necessary.

What Spinal Cord Decompression Is and What It Does

There are different types of spinal cord decompression surgeries. The procedure most often used in this particular case is called dorsal spinal decompression, although ventral decompression may be necessary in the case of cervical metastasis (NCBI). These noninvasive surgeries remove some of the pressure the tumor causes on the spine.

Stabilization is also a crucial part of the procedure and must be done after the decompression itself, as it allows the patient to be able to move freely and safely after the procedure. The area of the spine affected by the surgery should be adequately stabilized, and the patient should be monitored for any complications.

Effectiveness of Decompression Surgery for Spinal Metastasis

The procedure is very effective for lessening pain and creating a better outcome for those suffering from spinal metastasis. In addition, it can also make radiation therapy easier and more effective, if the tumor happens to be radiosensitive. This procedure can actually help allow the radiation to reach all parts of the tumor while removing the compression it is causing on the spine.

Essentially, the surgery, when properly administered on those who need it, has been found to have very strong and positive results. According to a study that involved a 36-year-old-man with metastatic adenocarcinoma of the lung with spinal cord compression, the patient was able to walk after his surgery and showed no signs of further complications up to 9 months later (NCBI).

Safety and Potential Risks

The procedure itself is not incredibly invasive, and it has been used especially for this reason, yielding positive results. More intensive decompression procedures, such as laminectomy, are not often recommended for this particular condition.

The surgery should not be performed when patients can possibly recover with the use of radiotherapy alone. As with every surgery, there are risks, such as:

  • The inherent risks of anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Injury of the nerves leading to paralysis

Ready to Learn More About Spinal Cord Decompression Surgery?

Those who need decompression surgery for spinal metastasis should receive the best care possible. If you would like to learn more about this procedure for the treatment of spinal metastasis, you should contact AccelSpine for more information. AccelSpine may also be reached toll free at 1-(888)-831-4892, where you can find out more about our products and how they are used in procedures like these. We are located in Dallas, TX at 14901 Quorum Drive.

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