Spinal endoscopy allows quicker recovery with little or no adverse effect on healthy tissue
The moment Jennifer Orr felt her right leg buckle, she knew she was in serious trouble.
She’d been lifting some heavy equipment and was experiencing twinges of pain in her back. But, she figured, that was probably just a flare-up of an old condition that irritated her tendons and ligaments. And then, suddenly, her right leg went numb.
As Ms. Orr later learned, the cause of her distress was a herniated disc in her spine. The fibrous outer portion of one of her vertebral discs had torn, allowing the inner portion to poke out (herniate) through the fibres. This put pressure on the nerves near the injured disc and sent pain radiating through her back and leg.
Normally, her surgical treatment would have required a sizeable incision in her back. Then surgeons would have had to cut through or possibly even remove normal, healthy tissue to gain access to the spinal canal.
But when Dr. Jeff Golan, JGH Chief of Neurosurgery, operated on Ms. Orr on June 20, she became one of the first patients in Canada to undergo a new type of minimally invasive surgery known as spinal endoscopy.
As a result, she was able to stand up an hour after the operation, return home the same day and resume near-normal activity two weeks later, including non-strenuous tasks at work.