The Spinal and Neurosurgery Unit at Circle Reading Hospital

Circle’s spinal and neurosurgery department boasts a team of highly experienced, consultant spinal surgeons.

This dedicated department focuses solely on the management of conditions affecting the neck (cervical spine), middle (thoracic) spine and lower (lumbar) spine.

The complex and sometimes significantly-disabling nature of spinal conditions requires a broad range of skills, and our unit integrates the expertise of leading orthopaedic surgeons with that of specialist neurosurgeons.

Our consultants are supported by our radiology department which regularly supports the service with the latest imaging techniques including:

  • Specialist xrays
  • MRI scans
  • CT scans

We also provide a holistic service to our patients, with our spinal surgeons supported by pain specialists, specialist nurses and physiotherapists.

Where spinal surgery is not considered the best option for an individual, we are able to offer courses of rehabilitation, image-guided spinal joint injections and psychological therapies if required.

Spinal and neurosurgery covers a range of operative procedures that are used to re-align and stabilise specific spinal segments or joints, or to relieve pressure on neural tissue. Various surgical procedures exist to achieve these aims, including:

  • stabilisation procedures being achieved with fusions and
  • decompression procedures being used to relieve neural compression. (Decompression operations may be done in conjunction with a subsequent spinal fusion where necessary.)

The most common reason for a spinal fusion procedure is due to severe degenerative changes to one or adjacent segments of the spine. Fractures to the stabilising interlocking bones (known as the pars) during adolescent years may also necessitate a single-level spinal fixation in the lower lumbar joints.

A less common reason to consider a more invasive spinal fusion is where scoliosis is present or is progressing. Scoliosis surgery necessitates operating over several spinal segments, and will often involve rods, hooks and screws being used to de-rotate and correct the alignment before fixating.

Neural tissue compression most often occurs as a result of a disc herniation or enlargement of the facet joints and soft tissue at one or several levels of the spine. Decompressive surgeries, including microdiscectomy and laminectomy procedures, make up a large proportion of spinal surgery work.

The majority of fusion and decompression operations are carried out in order to address problems with the lower lumbar or mid cervical spinal joints. These joints are the ones most commonly affected as they possess the most spinal segmental motion.

Sometimes spinal and neurosurgery is unfortunately needed to remove tumours and other space-occupying lesions when neural tissue is being dangerously compressed. These problems will each have their own challenges for the surgical team, dependent on the exact nature of the problem and its location.

Initial consultation

Our experienced, consultant orthopaedic spinal and neurosurgeons will ensure they get a detailed history of your problem. This will enable them to request any appropriate diagnostic imaging and help them understand whether surgery may be necessary.

You will undergo an expert physical examination. This will include tests to analyse your posture and your spinal range of motion as well as a thorough neurological examination which may include:

  • Assessing your walking (gait) pattern
  • Assessing reflexes
  • Power tests
  • Sensation tests
  • Co-ordination tests
  • Further neurological tests may be conducted depending on the exact presentation

State-of-the-art diagnostics available for you

Our experts will request any imaging they feel is necessary to confirm suspected diagnoses following your initial consultation.

The correct imaging techniques are also useful to help establish the extent of any structural problems and how things may progress if surgery is not conducted.

To get the best possible understanding of the problem, our experts will normally request more than one form of imaging.

  • X-ray: In cases where there may be a significant spinal deformity, such as a scoliosis, a full spinal X-ray may be requested at specialist views to determine possible progression and how to rebalance the spine during a surgical procedure.
  • CT scans: may be requested when requiring a more detailed view to the bony architecture of the spine. Specialist CT scans (known as SPECT-CT scans) can be useful when assessing for any fractures not visible on a standard X-ray.
  • MRI scans: are the normal scan of choice when assessing for most forms of mechanical spinal pain or radiating pain in to the arms or legs. An MRI scan gives a good impression of the intervertebral discs and facet joints as well as the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. An MRI scan can also give a reliable indication of inflammation adjacent to painful joints, which in some cases may signify instability.

The right treatment for you, always

Due to the importance of spinal conditions and the highly specialist areas that spinal medicine comprises, decisions regarding surgical and non-surgical management will often be taken by a multidisciplinary team comprising:

  • Consultant spinal orthopaedic surgeon
  • Consultant neurosurgeon
  • Consultant anesthetist in pain management
  • Specialist nurse
  • Specialist physiotherapist

You will always be given space and time to talk about how your symptoms have affected you. In addition, your individual goals - whether sporting or non-sporting - will be thoroughly discussed with you to determine the best possible management plan.

In cases where our multi-disciplinary teams and a patient feel that the best onward management plan may be a non-surgical route, we will always discuss other options available.

This may include a course of rehabilitation overseen by our specialist physiotherapists, spinal injections and denervation procedures administered by our pain management department or psychological talking therapies as necessary.

Undergoing necessary spinal surgery can be a stressful experience which requires the very best in surgical planning, surgical procedural expertise, and post-operative support for the patient.

At Circle we provide all of these values through our experienced clinical and administration staff in a modern, clean hospital. This ensures the best possible outcomes are achieved, with the least amount of stress for our patients.

Our specialist spinal surgical units are recognised throughout the UK as centres of excellence. Our comprehensive service includes:

  • Expert assessment from an experienced consultant
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Latest imaging techniques
  • Leading surgical techniques available
  • Leading musculoskeletal physiotherapists and rehabilitation equipment
  • Communicative working environment, to ensure all of our specialists work towards your goals

Expert support and guidance throughout your recovery and rehabilitation

Following your spinal surgery, we provide the very best in immediate post-operative care with our specialist nurses monitoring vital observations and attending to our patients needs to control any post-operative pain.

Our orthopaedic physiotherapists, working with carefully drawn up post-operative protocols planned by our spinal orthopaedic neurosurgical consultants, aid initial rehabilitation to allow rapid improvements in mobility.

In order to achieve the very best outcomes following our spinal and neurosurgical procedures, we have invested in the latest rehabilitation equipment to support our specialist musculoskeletal physiotherapists and patients. Our equipment includes:

  • Anti-gravity treadmills
  • Premium cardiovascular and resistance gym equipment
  • Specific spinal strengthening technology

Our patients are given the option of continuing intensive rehabilitation as an inpatient or undergoing regular, supervised physiotherapy sessions as an outpatient.

These Circle Health clinical values ensure our patients are able to return to their goals of activities of daily living and sports faster and stronger.

To arrange your consultation with an experienced spinal consultant, contact our friendly team today who will be delighted to help.

 

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Fast track your treatment

Just enter your details below and we'll ring you to provide a quote or answer your questions. We will use your personal information to process your enquiry and contact you with relevant information. For further information, please see our website privacy policy.

0118 922 6888

Circle Reading Hospital, 100 Drake Way, Reading, RG2 0NE

Good

Overall rating 16th November 2016