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Spinal surgery

Expert assessment and treatment for spinal concerns

The expert team of spinal consultants at The Chiltern Hospital offer an outstanding service for all conditions relating to the spine, from the neck to the coccyx. This includes a broad range of surgical and non-surgical solutions for back pain and injury, from cutting edge surgical procedures to comprehensive physiotherapy programs.

With fantastic diagnostic equipment and imaging technology available to the department, we ensure a thorough analysis of your condition, with no time wasted on waiting lists. Whether you require surgery, medication, or physiotherapy, the consultant-led care we provide focuses on achieving a pain-free and mobile future for you as soon as possible.

Any procedures you have with us will take place in the outstanding environment of The Chiltern Hospital. Our supportive team will ensure you enjoy a peaceful and relaxing time throughout your treatment, both as a day patient and if you are staying with us overnight. Our operating theatres, consultation rooms, and treatment rooms are all state of the art, and our private recovery rooms are clean and comfortable. 

Our spinal surgery unit covers the assessment, diagnosis and treatments of patients with back pain, numbness in the arms, legs or buttocks, and any referred pain to these parts of the body. The spine has three key areas, the upper part of the spine (cervical spine), the lower part of the spine (lumbar spine), and the long part of the spine, which connects the cervical and lumbar (thoracic spine). We can often deduce which part of the spine has an issue based on the location of a patient’s symptoms on examination.

It is very common for back pain to develop in patients over time due to wear and tear from everyday life, though certain activities can exacerbate the issue, such as gardening, heavy lifting and sports. In long term cases, patients may have been experiencing pain or discomfort in the back for many years and would now like to manage or treat the condition. If you can relate to this sort of back pain, it is a good idea to book an appointment with a spinal consultant so they can determine what treatment options are available. It is not always necessary to undergo surgery to relieve back pain, though many procedures have huge benefits.

Back pain can also occur suddenly; it may be that an acute injury has damaged the spine or simply that a sharp pain has arisen out of the blue, but both instances should prompt a consultation with a spinal surgeon. In the back and legs, sudden pain may be the result of sciatica, in which the sciatic nerve is compressed, while lower back or neck pain may be a sign of spinal stenosis, which can cause long term numbness or weakness if untreated. Once again, surgery may not be necessary for these long term wear and tear conditions, particularly if treated with physiotherapy or medical solutions at an early stage.

Trauma to the spine can cause anything from mild to extreme back pain and inhibit movement if severe. For example, a slipped disc, when the tissue between the bones of the spine pushes onto nerves, can often be treated with rest, gentle exercise and painkillers; however, in some cases, it may require surgery.

Some examples of the spinal surgery offered at The Chiltern Hospital include spinal fusion, lumbar discectomy, and disc replacements. These procedures involve fusing, removing, and replacing parts of bones in the spinal cord. This may facilitate decompression, which reduces pressure on the nerves while maintaining as much strength and stability in the back as possible or as part of a reparative surgery following an injury.

In inflammation cases in the spine, steroid injections are often used to settle the inflammation as much as possible, allowing your pain to resolve more quickly. These injections include facet joint injections, caudal epidurals, lumbar epidurals, and nerve root sleeve injections. Your consultant will explain which injection is best for your needs after making a diagnosis of your particular condition. While these injections can offer pain relief and reduce the inflammation for a time, it may be that they are not enough to solve a problem long term and surgery is required.

Ultimately, your treatment will be decided between yourself and your consultant, based on their diagnosis and your level of discomfort and pain. Our goal is to provide you with the healthiest, most mobile and pain-free future possible. Sometimes that will mean pain management with gentle exercise and painkillers, while other times, it may mean a combination of surgery and physiotherapy. 

Booking an appointment to see one of our spinal consultants is made simple by our friendly enquiry team; just give them a call, and they will arrange a consultation with the specialist of your choice and answer any questions you have.

During your initial consultation with your spinal consultant, they will lead a discussion about your symptoms, medical history and any known trauma or contributing factor you believe may be relevant. Following this, they will carry out a physical examination. Once this is complete, your consultant will talk you through the diagnostic steps you will take next and set about arranging these tests. The Chiltern Hospital is equipped with advanced imaging equipment, including X-ray, CT and MRI scanners, which are often required for spinal investigation. Your consultant may also wish you to take a blood test, which can usually be carried out on the same day as the consultation. Whatever steps are required, you will be able to book them for a time that suits you within two weeks.

Once your investigations are complete, your consultant will invite you in to discuss what they mean for your diagnosis and treatment plan, including the risks and benefits of any recommended treatment. Any procedure you decide to go ahead with will be explained to you in detail. If you are choosing to pay for your own treatment, we will offer you a fixed price quote which will be sent to you in writing. If you opt to use your medical insurance, it’s important to contact your provider to obtain an authorisation code for treatment.

Some procedures, such as injections to ease inflammation, are conducted in operating theatres, and patients come in as a day case and can go home that same day. More extensive spinal surgery is usually performed under general anaesthesia. Patients typically spend at least one night recovering with us, though sometimes it may be two or three, depending on the operation. However long you are with us, and whichever treatment you are receiving at The Chiltern Hospital, you will always be under the expert care and attention of our outstanding team. Your comfort and peace of mind are of paramount importance to us throughout. We look to provide that peaceful experience through a clean, comfortable and private room, state of the art facilities, and world-class consultant-led care. 

Our spinal consultants are committed to outstanding results for patients with back pain and injury, which is why they lead and oversee your care from start to finish while taking the time to get to know your medical history and your expectations post-treatment. Understanding as much as possible about your circumstances helps us to achieve the very best results for you.

Physiotherapy after or in place of surgery is often a fundamental part of spinal care. Our consultants work closely with the fantastic physiotherapists at The Chiltern Hospital. We also have consultant pain management specialists for instances in which surgery is not suitable. 

Speak with our friendly enquiry team today to book your initial consultation with an expert spinal surgeon. 

Specialists offering Spinal surgery

Mr Babur Mahmood

Consultant Orthopaedic Spinal Surgeon

BM, MSc, MRCS (Ed), FRCS Ed (Tr & Orth)

The Chiltern Hospital 2 more Bishops Wood Hospital The Saxon Clinic

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Mr Edward Seel

Consultant Spinal Surgeon

BM, MMEd, MRCS(Eng), FRCS (Tr&Orth)

The Chiltern Hospital 1 more The Shelburne Hospital

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