Spine Exposure Specialist

Laparoscopic Surgery NW

Laparoscopic Surgery & General Surgeon located in Tacoma, WA

If you suffer from chronic back pain that doesn’t improve with conservative medical treatments, then you may be considered a candidate for surgery. Board-certified general and laparoscopic surgeon, James Rifenbery, MD, FACS, at Laparoscopic Surgery NW in Tacoma, Washington, is a compassionate and experienced surgeon who uses minimally invasive techniques to assist your spine surgeon during spine exposure surgery. To schedule a consultation with to discuss your back surgery options, contact the surgical office by phone, or request an appointment online today.

Spine Exposure

What is spine exposure surgery?

Spine exposure surgery is a technique that approaches your spine through the anterior, or front of your body. Most people are aware of back operations performed using a posterior approach, or from the back, but the anterior approach may provide better results.

Except for the large blood vessels (the aorta and vena cava), your abdominal organs only rest on the spine and are easily lifted off your backbone. With skill and experience, Dr. Rifenbery carefully moves your organs and blood vessels to improve access to your spine so your spine surgeon can provide the necessary spine surgery. 

What conditions benefit from spine exposure surgery?

You may benefit from spine exposure surgery if you suffer from back pain caused by severely degenerated discs. As you get older, your discs lose moisture and shrink, which decreases the space in between your vertebrae and increases the risk of disc herniation. These spinal changes may irritate or pinch your spinal canal or nerve roots, leading to pain.  

Medical management, including anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy, may offer some relief from your back pain, but it’s not a long-term solution for the degenerative changes. When your back pain is severe and affecting your quality of life, back surgery may be the next step.

What are the advantages of anterior spine exposure surgery?

Your discs are located in the front, or anterior, area of your spine. One of the significant advantages of the anterior spine exposure surgery is that it avoids the need to move your spinal nerves and spinal cord, which is necessary when performing posterior spine surgery. Movement of your spinal nerves and spinal cord increases the risk of nerve damage and the development of scar tissue, which can result in long-term pain.

Dr. Rifenbery and your spinal surgeon also prefer the anterior approach to spine surgery because there’s no need to remove any bone and so preserves your spinal anatomy. This approach also allows your surgeons to restore disc height to relieve nerve pressure.

Why do I need a general surgeon?

Your spine surgeon has the skills and knowledge to diagnose and treat your spine problem, and Dr. Rifenbery has the expertise to approach your spine using minimally invasive techniques. By combining the expertise and knowledge of both surgeons, you get the best chance at a safe and efficient operation. 

Dr. Rifenbery also specializes in abdominal surgery, including gallbladder removal and hernia repair.

To discuss your spine surgical options with an experienced and skilled surgeon, call Laparoscopic Surgery NW, or request an appointment online today. 

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