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Spinal surgery

Relief from back pain

Private spinal care in Guildford

Are you suffering from constant back pain or buttock pain, often extending down into the leg? You may assume it to be related to sciatica or some other nerve pain and it could be as this may relate to a disc prolapse pinching a nerve. Other times it may originate from the sacroiliac joint (where your lower spine and pelvis meet) or the facet joints (which connect each vertebra in your spine). In fact, joint pain all over the body can be an indicator of a spinal concern.

Common symptoms of spinal issues include:

  • Back pain
  • Buttock pain
  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Pain at the back of your head
  • Nerve pain in your arms
  • Pins and needles
  • A feeling of weakness, especially in your feet/legs or hands/arms.

If you have experienced any of these persistently or intermittently, you’ll know how disconcerting they can be, and you’ll want answers promptly. Our consultants at Mount Alvernia are focused on making a rapid diagnosis and forming a personalised treatment plan that best suits your individual needs.

Some of the conditions treated at Mount Alvernia include:

  • Slipped disc/prolapsed disc
  • Fractures of the spine
  • Sciatica
  • Joint pain such as sacroiliac pain

Will I need surgery?

Around 80% of spinal and neck concerns will sort themselves out, usually within six weeks, especially when aided by non-invasive measures and therapies. Painkillers can be taken to help manage your pain.

Therapies such as physiotherapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic treatments can be offered, and these often help during your rehabilitation, ensuring you are able to maintain strength and stability while you recover.

Spinal injections or epidurals can target specific back pain, and these can be repeated if they have worked well.

However, if these methods have proved ineffective in managing your symptoms, some form of surgery may be necessary, depending on your condition.

Fractures of the spine may get better on their own, with a brace used for support during recovery. If it still hasn’t healed, your consultant can augment the fracture with cement (vertebroplasty), or place screws and rods into your spine to fix the fracture.

A disc prolapse in the neck can be managed with a spinal injection (usually guided in alongside a radiologist for accuracy). If, however, the disc prolapse is pinching a nerve, cervical disc replacement surgery may be beneficial.

What happens at an initial consultation?

Your consultant will ask for your medical history, as well as a detailed breakdown of your symptoms. They will most likely want to know:

  • What symptoms have you been experiencing?
  • How long have you had them?
  • If you are in pain, can you describe it? Is the pain sharp or does it spread out? Is it constant or intermittent?
  • Have your symptoms become progressively worse?
  • Is your pain located solely in your back? Does it spread down to your buttocks or anywhere else?

Your consultant will then perform a physical examination (pressing over parts of the neck and spine to check for tenderness and assess the health of your spine) and will investigate the symptoms you’ve mentioned. If you have highlighted nerve pain, your consultant may also conduct a neurological exam of your arms and legs. These all help to form an accurate diagnosis and a clear treatment path.

Usually, your consultant will wish to see an MRI of your spine, and this can be arranged on-site at Mount Alvernia in our Imaging department.

With these results in hand and a diagnosis made, your consultant can start to create a treatment plan. If diagnosis isn’t clear, further tests can be arranged, which may include a CT scan or CT Spect scan (an amalgamation of a CT scan and a bone scan, which highlights the blood flow between tissue and organs and can help identify problem areas).For example, this may be used to identify areas appropriate for a fusion procedure.

Very often, your consultant will advise you to begin with conservative treatment to see if your condition improves with non-invasive measures. Physiotherapy can be introduced from your initial consultation, and any recommended treatments will be explained clearly to you.

If your back pain is severe and has resisted all other forms of treatment, fusion of the spine may be attempted. This can either be done from the front, as an ALIF (Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion), from the side, as an XLIF (Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion), or from the back, as a TLIF (Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion). Spinal fusion connects the affected vertebrae together, usually helping to improve stability, reduce pain, and improve quality of life. Your consultant will be able to suggest which type of fusion is best suited to you, and you can make an informed decision on how best to proceed.

Other forms of surgery are available, depending on your symptoms. Microdiscectomy is a specialised form of surgery offered by one of our consultants, used to remove discs (particularly when there is significant pressure on your spinal column), where your surgeon uses a microscope in order to reduce any muscle trauma and lessen the chances of nerve damage during the procedure. This highly sought-after technique is just one of the benefits of choosing to have your surgery at Mount Alvernia.

Why should I choose Mount Alvernia for my spinal treatment?

By choosing to have your treatment at Mount Alvernia, you’ll be able to take advantage of all these great benefits:

Assessments ASAP – If your quality of life has been affected by your symptoms, you’ll want to be seen by a consultant without any unnecessary delay. By seeing patients rapidly, our consultants can get you started on the right course of treatment as soon as possible.

Patient Satisfaction – 98% of other patients in 2020 said they would happily recommend the Mount Alvernia Hospital to friends and family in an independent report, and we’re confident that you’ll agree. 98% also said that the quality of care here at Mount Alvernia Hospital was either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’. We aim to make your stay with us as comfortable as possible, and these results highlight our continued efforts to ensure this is achieved.

Specialists in spinal surgery – Our consultants have extensive experience treating all manner of spinal conditions, and with specialist surgeries such as microdiscectomy available for suitable candidates, Mount Alvernia boasts a wide range of options for your recovery.

Personalised care – We believe in a bespoke approach to treatment, tailoring each experience to our patients’ needs and whatever may be best for you.

A multidisciplinary approach – Our teams at Mount Alvernia work in tandem with each other to provide you with the best possible care from start to finish. We operate alongside vascular surgeons when doing any lumbar work, and have close links with Neurology as well as Pain Management. Alongside colleagues in physiotherapy, and a dedicated team of radiographers, anaesthetists, and nurses, you have support from medical professionals every step of the way during your treatment.

Convenient appointments – With regular appointments available throughout the week, you are sure to find an appointment slot that suits your needs and availability.

If you have been suffering from persistent back or neck pain, why not get in touch with our reception team today to book a consultation? Our consultants can organise the necessary diagnostic tests to investigate your symptoms, and outline all treatment options for you promptly, arranging any further scans or surgery if required.

For expert personalised care, please contact Mount Alvernia to book an appointment now.

Specialists offering Spinal surgery

Mr Andrew Quaile

Consultant Spinal Orthopaedic Surgeon


Mount Alvernia Hospital 1 more The Hampshire Clinic

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Mr Sri Chatakondu

Consultant Orthopaedic & Spinal Surgeon


Mount Alvernia Hospital

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Mr Adam Way

Consultant Spinal Surgeon

MSc, MBChB, MRCS(Eng), FRCS(Orth)

Mount Alvernia Hospital

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