Surgical Decompression For Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)


SCI or Spinal cord injury is a very costly injury. It often leads to psychological and social problems where intensive treatment and care becomes a necessity. Over the years, a variety of pharmacological agents are tested to aid the condition. A lot of these tests flunk, while a few others somehow manage to make small strides towards alleviating the results.

Although there’s an acquired positive laboratory result from large-scale controlled clinical trials, researchers fail to replicate the effect in human testing. Presumably, there are no signs of neurological benefits obtained from the investigative study for SCI treatment. However, some researches on surgical timing show that medical interventions, such as cellular therapy and transplantation, are safe and possible. That’s because the procedures improve neurological state and profoundly reduce overall health care cost.

The Current Evidence Of Surgical Decompression Role In SCI

The CNS or central nervous system healing capability is very limited. That is why most injuries experienced by the brain or spinal cord result into permanent overall dysfunction. However, researchers have found a way to ease the consequences of SCI, and this is through surgical decompression.  It is where the spine surgery procedure plays a vital role in the treatment. According to research, undergoing an early surgery after the incident somehow ensures a positive effect for the patient who’s suffering from SCI. This information is supported by data from an early surgical intervention that has resulted in better long-term solutions.

A physical accident or a traumatic occurrence, mostly near-death experience, may result in sustained damage to the spinal column and spinal cord. Some of these incidents could be falling from a building, car accident, sports-related injury, and a lot more. These will result in unimaginable back pains or permanent malfunctions in the human body. But what’s stressful is the destabilization of the spinal column that changes the body’s anatomical structure, giving it a more complicated figure, unpleasant appearance, and useless function. So to resolve these issues, spine surgery is one of the options.


Decompression Procedures

There are different types of decompression procedures. There are laminotomy and laminectomy. These are two types of spine surgery that involves the spine lamina (the structural protective shielding at the back of the spinal canal). Laminectomy is defined as the actual removal or the complete removal of the lamina while laminotomy is only the partial removal of the lamina. The surgeon may choose between these two procedures to gain access to the nerve that is causing the SCI-related symptoms or pain.

There are some cases that spinal decompression is the best option for SCI. However, there are cases that the procedure itself can cause the spine’s instability. From that instance, the process becomes complicated. Since the spinal stabilization surgery, along with spinal fusion, is performed after the decompression procedure, the tricky part of the operation is due to the removal of soft supporting tissues (a disc or a bone). But even if there’s a possibility of complication, the surgeon still ensures a beneficial result from the decompression.


Instrumentation And Fusion

These are often included in the spinal stabilization procedure as well. Fusion involves autograft or allograft methods that are packed into and around the instrumentation of the spine’s structural healing and ingrowths.  Instrumentation refers to the variety of implantable devices used to support fusion.  These may include inter-body cages, rods, screws, and plates. Instrumentation provides an immediate spinal stabilization with the help of tools while fusion holds everything together like glue.

Decompression is one of the surgeries that may help a person continue a reasonable quality of life after a spinal cord injury. So it’s better to note that the longer a person waits before having surgery, the higher the risk of having permanent damage to the spine.




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