In modern medicine a new trend is developing in the treatment of diseases. These are new treatments for the most common health problems, such as back pain, sciatica and cervical syndrome . These treatments do not require hospitalization , they cost little and are just as effective as surgical procedures.
Long-term medication in many patients is not effective, while surgery can be costly, painful and often the patient is afraid to enter the operating room.
This created the need for medical intervention that will not lag behind in effectiveness, will be clearly more economical, and will restore good health to patients of all ages.
Spinal diseases are becoming more and more common. As far as young people are concerned, those diseases are caused due to a sedentary lifestyle, weight gain, lack of exercise and extended working hours. In the elderly, it is the increase in life expectancy, and working despite their old age due to financial need. The result is that we see more and more patients with back and neck pain who take medication for a long time, but continue to suffer. They consume large amounts of drugs, increasing their medical expenses, or undergoing open surgeries, at great cost.
Some of them will not get well if they do not have surgery, but they do not make that decision, for all the reasons mentioned above. However, a percentage of over 80% of the chronic pain that does not go away with drugs can now be treated without surgery , simply in the office of a specialized Spine Surgeon!
But how did we get to this development? The method of nerve infiltration of the nerve roots of the lumbar and cervical spine has been known for years. All of these methods are examples of minimally invasive treatments of the spine. We perform these operations in the operating room using radiological guidance and under local anesthesia. They last 30 minutes and then the patient is able to move in just a few hours’ time. After the operation, daily hospitalization is required. They are performed using special equipment and by specialized surgeons.
What is new, however, is that now these same surgeries have evolved even moreand can now be performed using ultrasound, without surgery, in a simple and safe way. The specially trained surgeon applies the method of nerve infiltration with ultrasound guidance . Sounds complicated, but it only lasts 5 minutes and can be relieve pain for months or even years! It offers everything that nerve infiltration surgeries do, but it does not need to be done in a hospital, the patient is not exposed to radiation and is mobilized in 20 minutes. So simple!
This new method is gaining ground in the United States and Western Europe. It has been enthusiastically received by both patients and insurers, as it drastically reduces treatment costs and recovery time. Now it is done in Greece too!
With this technique, injuries to muscles, blood vessels and nerves are avoided. The advantage is that the ultrasound is painless, bloodless and provides a continuous image of the internal organs, without any side effects or radiation. All that is required is a modern ultrasound and a doctor with the specialized knowledge.
Of course, we must be very careful in choosing the right patients. There are patients who need a normal surgical discectomy (even in a minimally invasive way). These patients should not undergo such treatment, because it will not prove to be beneficial and they will not avoid discectomy in the end. Choosing the correct method and patients is the responsibility of the specialist surgeon. Therefore, if minimally invasive methods are not used properly, they can harm the patient, delaying proper treatment.
Proper information of patients contributes significantly to the selection of appropriate treatment. Surgeons who know these techniques are able to provide patients with modern surgical care in Greece, with the exact same quality characteristics as in the most advanced medical countries in the world. Thus, everybody’s health is improved, reducing the material and ethical costs of invasive treatment.