John D. Spears, D.O.

When spine surgery is an option,
The Missouri Spine Institute is the best option you have.

Diagnosis

Diagnostic (radiological) imaging is very useful in the diagnosis and treatment of an assortment of spinal problems. The following tests are useful in the diagnosis your spine problem.

You and your physician should discuss the necessity of these tests to aid in making an accurate diagnosis.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI uses strong magnets and radio waves to produce a three-dimensional image of the body.

MRIs are generally low-risk to patients and don’t usually require any special preparation. MRIs can be used to detect the following spinal conditions:

Disc Degeneration and Herniation
Recurrent Disc Herniation
Spinal Stenosis
Compression Fractures

Specialized Nerve Tests: Occasionally, additional information is needed even after the appropriate diagnostic imaging tests have been performed.

A frequent test that may be used to make a more accurate diagnosis or rule out a specific diagnosis is a specialized nerve test called an EMG/NCS. These tests and whether or not they can aid in the diagnosis and treatment of your problem should be discussed with your physician.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

The following is a list of some of the more frequently recommended treatments for common spine problems.

Each individual treatment option is not a solution for every spine problem and treatment recommendations can only be made after a complete examination has been performed by your physician.

You and your physician will be able to create a customized treatment plan after an affirmative diagnosis has been made.

Activity Modification
Ergonomic Changes
Physical Therapy
Epidural Steroid Injections
Chiropractic Treatment
Acupuncture
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (N’SAIDS)

Surgeries Performed by Dr. Spears

Spine surgery planning is a very complex process and every surgery plan is customized to fit each individual patient’s needs depending on a variety of factors.

Keep in mind that this is only an abbreviated list of the most frequently performed surgeries and that this is not an exhaustive list of all of the procedures that Dr. Spears performs.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion: This procedure might be performed to treat cervical radiculopathy (arm pain associated with bone spurs) or cervical myelopathy (a condition associated with neck and arm pain, numbness, or weakness).

Once diagnosed, non-operative measures such as anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication, injection trials, and therapy are explored. If non-surgical treatment fails, surgery options may be considered depending on risk.

Cervical Disc Replacement: Cervical discs are the cushions or shock absorbers between the vertebrae of the neck. If these discs become damaged due to trauma or degeneration, you may experience pain.

Cervical disc replacement may be used to treat this condition. During the procedure, a damaged or degenerated cervical disc is removed and replaced by an artificial disc device.

Cervical Laminoplasty: This procedure can be used to treat spinal cord pressure, called spinal stenosis. As the pressure becomes more severe, symptoms of myelopathy can occur including numbness, pain/weakness in the arms or hands, difficulty using hands, and balance problems.

Lumbar Microscopic Discectomy: This procedure is used to treat herniated discs, though not all patients with the condition are candidates.

In most cases, patients find pain relief with non-surgical options such as rest, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and epidural injections. If your pain does not respond to these measures, more aggressive intervention may be sought.

Lumbar Laminectomy: If you have back or leg pain caused by spinal cord compression, a lumbar laminectomy might be used to relieve the pressure.

Micro Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion:

Lumbar Spinal Fusion: In cases where non-surgical treatments are unsuccessful, a lumbar spinal fusion might be considered to provide the best long-term outcome.

This procedure may be recommended for a severely degenerated disc, slippage of the spine bones, recurrent disc herniation, curvature of the spine, or for a traumatic injury of the spine such as a fracture.

Spinal Fusion: This procedure joins vertebrae together by placing bone grafts around the spine and allowing them to fuse over time.

Spinal fusion may be considered as a treatment for fractured vertebrae, correction of deformity, elimination from painful motion, treatment of instability, and treatment of some cervical disc herniations.

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