Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: spinal | surgery | alternatives

Should I Have Spinal Fusion Surgery?

Wednesday, 26 Dec 2012 10:09 AM


Question: I have severe neck pain and I’ve been diagnosed with three herniated discs. One doctor told me I need cervical fusion surgery. Are there alternative medications or therapies that might help me avoid surgery?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:

Multilevel disc disease is a common cause of pain in the neck and lower back. Spinal fusion procedures are offered to those who have unstable or fractured spinal columns, and are not commonly performed for herniated disc problems alone.

It may be offered in special circumstances to some who have not had success with other less-invasive treatments, but are generally not intended for those who have not tried alternative therapies first. Problems in the neck or cervical spine are more technically challenging. I would advise you see a neurosurgeon for an opinion and recommend any treatments be supervised by a collaborative team involving a neurosurgeon and spinal orthopedic specialists.

There are many non-surgical approaches to chronic neck pain. Be sure to involve your family physician with your consultant care, and they sure you have at least considered all reasonable non-surgical options. Sometimes a laser spine surgery may be available, which might allow you to avoid the risk of conventional cervical fusion surgery.


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Dr-Hibberd
It's a good idea to explore less-invasive treatments for back and neck pain before having surgery.
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2012-09-26
Wednesday, 26 Dec 2012 10:09 AM
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