The spine is subjected to extreme physical stress on a daily basis. This can result in compression. If the load on vertebral bodies and intervertebral disks becomes too great, these give way and injuries may occur. On the one hand, spinal column diseases are painful themselves, such as a herniated disk, on the other hand they cause discomfort due to increasing posture damage. Among the most common diseases of the spinal column are:
- degenerative disorders (e.g. osteoporosis, herniated disk),
- inflammatory rheumatic diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis,
- instability of the spinal column or vertebral body up to spondylolisthesis,
- deformities, such as scoliosis, a visible lateral curvature of the spine or its parts,
- disorders in skeletal growth, such as Scheuermann's disease,
- tumors near the spine, so-called chordomas,
- nerve contusions and irritations,
- after serious injuries to the spinal column, e.g. as a result of an accident, the spinal cord running through the spinal cord can be damaged, resulting in paraplegia.
Specialists in spinal diseases are either orthopedic surgeons or, which is more frequent, neurosurgeons, since the spine is so close to the human nervous system. All important nerve cords run through the spinal column (in the spinal cord) into the periphery.
The most widely used diagnostic method in a spinal center is magnetic resonance imaging, which allows very detailed imaging of the vertebral bodies, nerves and intervertebral disks.
As treatment, physicians can operate minimally invasive at a spine center, offer invasive pain therapy, use intervertebral disk prostheses or partially create joint stiffeners along the vertebral bodies.
The disk prosthesis
Many people today suffer from chronic back pain. Herniated disks are often responsible for this. This is why intervertebral disk surgeries are among the most frequently performed procedures at a spine center. If the natural intervertebral disk can no longer be preserved, a replacement must be considered, because otherwise the inflammatory degeneration of vertebral bodies and nerves continues to advance.
In MRI, such a finding presents itself to the specialist as a so-called "black disk". The intervertebral disk as the pain trigger is then surgically removed and replaced by a disk prosthesis. The surgery is followed by a rehabilitation period with the aim of enabling the patients' painless movement again.
The field of neurosurgery consists of the recognition, surgical and conservative treatment, aftercare and rehabilitation of diseases, injuries and malformations of the central nervous system, the vessels and the peripheral and vegetative nervous system.
As with many other medical specialist training courses, the training period is approximately six years, with four years extending to inpatient care and a further six months to intensive medical care for neurosurgical patients.
In addition, many specialists for spinal diseases also hold the specialist title of orthopedic and trauma surgeon. It is important that the spine center has experienced staff. Spine surgery should play a central role in everyday practice. It is also important that professionally accompanied rehabilitation can take place as soon as possible in order to achieve freedom from pain and mobility as quickly as possible.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurointensiv- und Notfallmedizin (DGNI)