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How spine surgery used to be done

Every year, spine and other parts of the body are getting better and better performing surgeries. This is due to the fact that over time, medical professionals are gaining more and more experience in treating people and are therefore using this experience to develop and improve their work. Also, the reason for the improvement in the quality of operations is the development of technology used in medicine. Scientists who, at the same time as studying the construction of the human body, also study technical means - combine their knowledge into one and create machines that help them treat their patients. This is how medical examination and treatment have evolved.

So how exactly did medicine evolve and how did spine surgery used to be done? Let's look at this with the help of the history of medicine that has been carried out for many years.

 In general, it is not difficult to guess that problems with pain in the spine have always existed. Therefore, to begin with, it is worth knowing from when times began to study the treatment of the spine and how it happened.

The first mentions of spinal surgery date back to about 3000 BC. They were found in Egyptian mummies.

Further, the treatment of the spine becomes known from the Smith papyrus, compiled around 1650 B.C. In it we can see observations about the detection of spinal dislocation. In addition, the papyrus mentioned above shows that already at the time of its composition, people were identifying the connection between loss of sensation in the extremities and spinal cord injury.

One of those who made a significant contribution to the development of medicine and the treatment of the spine was Hippocrates. It is thanks to him that we now know such treatment tools as the Hippocratic ladder and the Hippocratic plank, which from ancient times helped in correcting scoliosis and in getting rid of unnecessary curvatures.

Galen, a renowned surgeon practicing in the Roman Empire, continued Hippocrates' research on spinal curvatures. And he was also able to describe the human spinal column and reveal that it contains 24 vertebrae. However, experiments on people and dissecting them were forbidden, so Galen was unable to perfect his research.

There is a theory that in 650 AD, the first laminectomy was performed, a procedure to relieve pressure produced on the spinal cord by removing part of the vertebrae. However, the laminectomy method itself was described by surgeons much later.

Laminectomies and other treatment procedures involving surgery had little success or acceptance until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The surgeries, more often than not, were unsuccessful, and the doctors who performed them could be prosecuted and banned from practicing medicine.

In 1885, Wilhelm Röntgen invented technology to take a picture of the human skeleton. Thus, X-rays gave a new impetus to the development in the treatment of spinal pain after an accident or pain due to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Invasive surgery was developed at the beginning of the 20th century. It was then that Russell Hibbs performed an operation that helped in the further treatment of patients with spinal tuberculosis.

The first discectomy was performed in 1932 by Dr. William Jason Mixter and Dr. Joseph Seaton Barr. They performed an operation whose purpose was to remove part or all of the intervertebral disc. This procedure, like a laminectomy, helped relieve the pressure that was placed on the spinal cord and nerve endings.

In the mid-20th century, microsurgery, which involves the use of microscopes during surgery, developed. One of the most popular and successful doctors who worked with the help of microsurgery is considered to be John McCulloch.

A little later, minimally invasive surgery replaced open spine surgeries. The reason for this was the improvement in endoscopic and MRI technology.

A new stage in the development of spine surgery was the emergence of laser surgery. However, even in modern medicine the laser is rarely used, as its control is considered insufficiently precise.

For a long time, doctors have been applying their expertise in treatment in order to reduce patients' pain as much as possible and help them quickly restore all their motor functions, which had been lost earlier.

Nowadays, there are a large number of spinal pain treatments that have made a significant difference in reducing the recovery time after surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is thought to have a great advantage over full open surgery. However, in some cases, such surgeries still cannot be avoided. Therefore, always consult with your doctor about which treatment options are right for you.

 Article author Roger Walker