The Southeastern Spine Institute

Rapid changes in back surgery techniques continue to improve safety and shorten recovery.

In general, medical science and research have enhanced surgical procedures drastically since the 1950s. Back surgery in particular has seen dramatic shifts in both availability and effectiveness. Spinal surgery and neurosurgery were only in the infant stages in 1950; surgeons weren’t even sure what caused most back pain.

At that time, about the only back surgery being performed in the country required large posterior incisions that cut through muscle and tissue to get to what was thought to be the affected areas causing back pain. Many of the advances in back surgery in the 1950s came about primarily from the front lines of the Korean War.

Technology in the 60s and 70s

While NASA was putting a man on the moon in the 1960s, space-age technology also benefitted the medical community. During this time, scientists developed the CT scanner and operating room microscopes. Medical science in that decade discovered bone morphogenic proteins: chemicals that cause bones to fuse. Back surgeons in the 60s saw the introduction of lumbar fusion implants, using metal rods and other techniques designed to treat herniation in thoracic discs.

Neuroimaging came into its own in the 1970s with the full use of the CT scanner and the development of the MRI, otherwise known as magnetic imaging resonance x-ray technology. Back surgeons performed more minimally invasive surgeries during this period, and cervical vertebra fusion techniques became more commonplace. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons formed in 1979 to promote best practices.

Back Surgery Breakthroughs

Spinal surgeons truly began to understand the spine in all its intricacies during the 1980s, as technology continued to offer additional insight into the workings of the spine and the role of back surgery. Instrumentation was refined and number of screws and artificial bones for grafting were developed during this decade.

Understanding about the relationship of the brain to the spine deepened during the 1990s. Technology continued to bring advances to the field of back surgery and non-invasive back pain treatment. Spine doctors and medical researchers began to question the veracity of many surgeries. They looked more deeply for viable options that could ease patients’ pain and shorten the length of back surgery recovery.

Spinal Procedures Speeding Along

Just as the Internet and other new technologies change at lightning speed, so follows medical innovations. Consider the 2014 surgery performed in China that relied on a spinal disc replacement created on a 3D printer. Or the first in-utero spinal repair of a fetus with spina bifida in a Texas hospital that same year.

Minimally invasive microsurgery performed through tiny incisions has become the norm, and the procedure is getting more sophisticated all the time. As laser technology improves, you’ll see more extensive use of the minimally invasive procedures and less major trauma when undergoing back surgery. Rely on your spinal team at the Southeastern Spine Institute to keep up with the latest proven techniques for your ultimate relief.