Does the donor bone graft in bone transplants come from living donors?

There are two types of bone graft commonly used autograft and allograft.  Autograft is taken from the patient during surgery, this is usually from iliac crest or bone that is removed the spine.  This is the best graft material but unfortunately can lead to new pain, deformity or complications.  Allograft is bone taken from bone bank from deceased donor.   This is almost as good as your own bone and saves you second surgical site. Recently bone substitutes made up of calcium have become available and may replace bone in the future.  For more information please contact Executive Spine Surgery today.  Good luck!

Does a pinched nerve (sciatica) always stay pinched unless surgery is given? Will it always show up on an MRI if surgery is given?

Disk herniations cause leg pain (sciatica) by pinching the sciatic nerve in the back.   Disk herniations may resolve on their own over a year or so, but they usually just get a little smaller as seen on multiple MRI .  Surgery is the best treatment to physically remove the disk.  Today this can be done endoscopically (endoscopic discectomy) though a very small incision the size of your finger nail. The endoscopic port is placed right onto the herniated disk and the disk is removed with tiny instruments.  This is a new minimally invasive treatment for back and leg pain.

Disk herniations may show up after surgery on MRI scan, but it usually is smaller.   Postoperatively the the disk that is seen is a combination of disk, bulging ligaments and scar tissue.

For more information on sciatica please contact Executive Spine Surgery. Good Luck!

L5S1 Hernation, S1 nerve compression.

You have a herniated disk in your spine pinching your left S1 leg nerve causing sciatica.  For more information please see my blog posting on sciatica.  Most of these disks can be removed by an extremely minimally invasive surgery called endoscopic spine surgery.  This surgery can be done awake through a small incision the size of your finger nail.  Pain relief is often immediate and you are usually discharged home 1 hour after surgery.  To schedule an appointment contact Executive Spine Surgery.  Good Luck!


Should I get a massage after a car accident?

Yes as long as spinal injury has been ruled out by your doctor.   Most car accidents involve jolting whiplash injuries to the spine.  These injuries respond well to massage, heat, stretching, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicine.  Injuries to the bones, ligaments, disks, spinal cord and nerves may require bracing or surgery.  I would recommend going to the emergency room after a car accident.  For more information please contact Executive Spine Surgery.  Good Luck!

Is it common for the rod in a spinal fusion to break after 3 months?

It is not common for a rod to break at all, especially 3 months after surgery.  The rod is just a solid metal rod.  It is unlikely for the rod to be defective.  Factors that may lead to breakage of the rod include multi-level fusion (greater stress on the rod), very weak spine (often broken back places large forces across the rod), deformed spine requiring surgical correction (again places large forces across the rod), bent rod (may weaken the rod but is usually necessary to align the spine), smaller diameter rod (less strong but necessary at certain areas of the spine), large patient, too active patient or someone who falls or involved in an accident (increased forces across the rod).  Good Luck!

Can a traumatic knee injury from falling down stairs cause L5-S1 disk herniation and nerve damage?

A knee injury does not usually cause L5-S1 disk herniation.  Likely you injured both the knee and back when you fell down the stairs.     The L5-S1 disk herniation may damage L5 and S1 nerve roots as they exit the spine.  These nerves travel though the pelvis and into the leg and foot to innervate multiple muscles.  L5 nerve root  injury causes weakness walking on your heals, bending your toes to your nose and numbness of the big toe.  S1 nerve root injury causes weakness walking tip toe and numbness in the little toes.    You may need treatment of your back and knee.  Good Luck!

I have really bad low back pain. Will it get worse in the future?

Back pain can originate from the bones, disks, joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves and spinal cord and rarely other organ systems.  Sometimes the exact cause cannot be determined.  Back pain can improve, stay the same or worsen over time depending on the cause.  It is difficult to predict the future of your pain without a detailed assessment.  I recommend evaluation by your primary care doctor.  The initial treatment for most causes of back pain is physical therapy.  If you fail physical therapy then I recommend consultation with spine surgeon for further workup and treatment.  Please contact Executive Spine Surgery for more information.  Good Luck!

Upper back pain around the left shoulder and hurts to breath.

You may have strained your back and/or shoulder, but the breathing problem could be from your heart or lungs.  I would recommend seeing your doctor.  Most people with back pain  benefit from rest, anti-inflammatories (if you can take them – check with your doctor) and muscle relaxer followed by physical therapy .  Good Luck!