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Spine swelling, numbness, pain while trying to sleep. Is the surgery a major or minor operation?

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Practicing since : 2001
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Hi, Its regarding my fathers ailment. He has been suffering from swelling in his spine due to which he is consistently facing numbness in his right half of the body as well as pain while trying to sleep.
Recent MRI scan done confirms the same and he has been referred to undergo a surgery to remove the swelling in the spine. I am currently in bangalore but just wanted consultation on the surgery, If the same is a major operation or a minor one and if possible any idea of a good physician in bangalore who can guide us.
...Just to add, my fathers details:
AGE:: 59
Height :: 5'8''
Weight :: nearly 75
Location :: bangalore
Posted Sat, 21 Apr 2012 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 49 minutes later

Thanks for posting your query.

You have provided with good information but I would like to know few more things as this would help me in suggesting you better.
Hence please answer the following:

1. Since when is your father suffering from this problem?
2. What treatment is he getting right now?
3. Is there any relief in his symptoms after the treatment?
4. What is the exact diagnosis- in medical terms?

Can you also send across the MRI reports and also any other investigations report if you have?
You have a feature to upload the reports / image by yourself at the right side of the query page, please utilize that so that I can answer your queries better.

I feel, the swelling in the spine is due to disc prolapse.

I will be able to provide more specific suggestions after looking at the MRI report and the answers to my questions.

Awaiting your response.


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Follow-up: Spine swelling, numbness, pain while trying to sleep. Is the surgery a major or minor operation? 51 minutes later
Hi Doctor,
Please find below my response to the questions you asked:

1.Since when is your father suffering from this problem?
---->> last one and a half year nearly. Things got worse for last 6 months
2. What treatment is he getting right now?
--->> He was asked to take some medicines but no specific treatment as such.
3. Is there any relief in his symptoms after the treatment?
--->> No, after the medicines were of no help so he was advised by the concerned doctor to finally go for a surgical treatment.
4. What is the exact diagnosis- in medical terms?
--->> My father could not find out the same in the report (the complex terms used by doctors :-)). But in layman terms he said that swelling pressurizes his nerves due to which he feels numbness and pain sometimes.

Thanks for the reply but I would be unable to send the MRI scan report across to you due to the unavailability of the same. My father got the scanning done at my home place and not in Bangalore so it would be difficult to share the same.
So, could you please advice the risk percentage for a person of my father's age to
undergo a spine surgery and is there a major risk that would be pertaining to the surgical treatment.
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 4 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
From the description it seems that your father is having a degenerative disc disease.
Severe pain in the legs is commonly seen in lumbar disc prolapse. A step wise approach is usually considered in treating the pain and surgery is the last resort in this step wise approach. Considering his age, he should not consider for surgery until he has taken an adequate conservative treatment.
He needs some good pain killers like aceclofenac and see if the pain gets relieved on taking pain killers. If he feels some relief, it indicates that you can take a conservative treatment and surgery is not immediately needed.

For better and longer relief, you can add a good muscle relaxant like Thiocolchicoside to the pain killers, after consulting with your orthopaedician. If he is able to do his daily work with the help of pain killers and muscle relaxants then he can avoid the surgery for some time.

Physiotherapy also plays a major role in treating such conditions. Epidural steroid injections have been used if oral pain killers are not very effective and surgical treatment is not considered. Discuss with your orthopedician and an appropriate treatment can be planned depending on the response to medical drugs.

Hope my answer is helpful. Write back if you have further queries.
Wishing your father a trouble free speedy recovery.

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