The causes of back pain can vary widely. Some patients have back pain due to incorrect posture or genetic predisposition, other cases are related to injury and the actual spine diseases. It is the most common for pain to occur due to psychological, mental problems, and stress. However for the different causes of back pain different treatment methods are used. Successful treatment is only possible if an accurate diagnosis is made and the right treatment tactic is prescribed.
- When spinal surgery in Germany is carried out?
- Diagnostics before surgery
- Types of spinal surgeries
- Surgery for spinal disc replacement
- Spinal fusion (spondylodesis)
- Treatment of spinal stenosis
- Treatment of the herniated spinal disc
- Why do international patients choose treatment in Germany?
- The cost of treatment with spinal surgery
- How to undergo spinal surgery in Germany?
When spinal surgery in Germany is carried out?
Doctors in Germany choose medical interventions with caution and find them necessary only when using conservative medical methods are obviously inefficient.
Medical centers in Germany perform surgical treatment of the following spinal pathologies according to indications patients have:
- Congenital spinal abnormalities (related to structure of the spine)
- Spinal cord injuries (fracture due to compression, etc.)
- Spinal disc disease
- Spinal tumors
- Spinal stenosis
Spinal surgery includes interventions on backbone.
There are open and minimally invasive surgeries.
Cost of lumbar spinal disc herniation starts from €3,079, cervical spinal stenosis – from €3,619. You can find other prices on the Booking Health website.
Surgery reduces pain and improves mobility in patients with spine diseases.
The best hospitals in Germany are:
- University Hospital Rechts der Isar Munich
- Catholic Clinic Koblenz-Montabaur
- University Hospital Frankfurt-am-Main
- Hospital Neuwerk Moenchengladbach
- University Hospital of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Diagnostics before surgery
As a rule, foreign patients come to hospitals in Germany with an established diagnosis. Thus, it is necessary to have with you all available medical reports with the results of the previous medical examination and data on the conducted treatment.
However, patients should be prepared for the fact that many examinations will be repeated, as these are the requirements of legislation in Germany. Typically, the list of standard diagnostic procedures includes:
- Consultation with the attending physician
- Laboratory tests
- CT and/or MRI scans
- Consultation with an anesthesiologist
If indicated, other examinations may be prescribed (ultrasound scan of head and neck vessels or/and angiography in cervical spine lesions, biopsy in tumor metastases in the spine, etc.), as well as consultations with related specialists.
Types of spinal surgeries
Each case is unique, and the type of surgery is determined by the doctors based on many factors, including the severity of disease, the cause of its development, diagnostic findings, and related medical conditions.
Today, the most advanced method of surgical treatment is minimally invasive surgery, which involves manipulations through small incisions. Such surgeries are performed using special equipment and assistive systems. A minimally invasive approach is preferred, because it carries fewer risks and facilitates postoperative recovery.
An important advantage of undergoing spine surgery in Germany is the development of minimally invasive spine surgery techniques, which are performed using laser and/or microsurgical instruments and are not connected with the severe trauma to the healthy body tissues. Here are examples of minimally invasive spine surgeries:
- Kyphoplasty and percutaneous vertebroplasty for spinal compression fractures
- Laser disk decompression at the initial stage of stenosis
- Endoscopic microdiscectomy
The latest methods of surgical treatment of the spinal cord provide maximum preservation of its physiological properties. For example, at the initial stages of osteochondrosis, operations are performed to renew the intervertebral disc biologically, and if the intervertebral discs are destroyed completely, endoprosthesis is performed.
In severe clinical cases, specialized hospitals in Germany perform complex orthopedic corrective surgeries, such as lumbar spinal fusion. It should be noted that hospitals in Germany have vast experience in restoring the structure and function of the vertebrae.
Another important advantage of spine surgery in Germany is the quality of medical measures for rehabilitation, which allows patients to restore spinal mobility, the freedom of movement and the joy of full-fledged life.
Surgery for spinal disc replacement
The most common type of spinal surgery is spinal disc replacement with an endoprosthesis. The surgery is performed under a microscope with minimal trauma to the surrounding tissues.
When a disc injury results in permanent damage to the spine and other surgical manipulations cannot guarantee a stable effect, the intervertebral disc must be replaced. The indication for surgery for spinal disc replacement is pronounced degenerative changes in the intervertebral disc of any origin, both metabolic and post-traumatic, or its significant destruction.
Certain forms of fractures, tumors, spondylosis, and spondylolisthesis may be contraindications to spinal disc replacement surgery.
Spinal fusion (spondylodesis)
One of the main goals of any spinal surgery is to stop the pain caused by degenerative changes in the joints. One of the most effective ways to reduce pain from degeneration is to block movement in the affected spine structures by spinal fusion. Spondylodesis is an operation during which two (or more) separated vertebrae are connected.
Spondylodesis has been used in spine surgery for many years to treat painful conditions in the lumbar spine and for fixation for various deformities.
Treatment of spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis (narrowing) is a pathology that occurs as a result of aging and associated degenerative changes in the spine. Spinal stenosis puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in back pain and pain in the lower extremities, as well as a feeling of heaviness in the legs, weakness when walking, and other symptoms.
Stenosis can occur in different parts of the spine but is most common in the lumbar spine. Statistically, narrowing in the spine areas is most common in older and elderly patients whose spinal structures have undergone age-related changes.
Spinal stenosis treatment, in turn, depends on how severe the pathology is and which related health problems this disease creates.
So, with milder forms of stenosis, it is effective to use conservative treatment, which consists of the rest regimen, the correct distribution of loads on the body, and therapeutic physical exercises. When the disease is accompanied by pain syndrome in the lumbar region of the spine and the thoracic spine, painkillers can reduce the pain.
Surgical treatment of spinal stenosis is used when no other conservative methods show the effectiveness and the disease is progressing, causing serious physiological disorders. The goal of surgical treatment is to eliminate the compression of the spinal cord, spinal nerves, and vessels by expanding the space of the spinal canal. To do this, the neurosurgeon removes the pathology (hernia, tumor, or other medical condition) that caused the stenosis.
Treatment of the herniated spinal disc
The herniated spinal disc does not always require radical treatment measures in the form of surgery, as conventional treatment helps to get rid of most symptoms at the onset of the condition. However, in cases where conservative methods of treatment have not led to the desired result, or a herniated disc compresses a nerve, or spinal cord and the disease poses a serious threat to the general health of patients, removal of the hernia by surgery is recommended.
Treatment in Germany provides patients, who require the neurosurgical treatment of herniated intervertebral discs, with the full range of modern minimally invasive methods of surgery of spinal disorders. Depending on the complexity of the clinical case, the pressure on the spinal cord, or compressed nerve endings, different types of surgical interventions can be performed for herniated intervertebral discs. Those mostly include endoscopic microdiscectomy and laminectomy.
Endoscopic microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that removes deformed parts of the intervertebral disc. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia, and the postoperative period usually takes several days, after which the patient is back on his feet and is discharged from the hospital.
A laminectomy involves creating more space around a trapped nerve by removing one or more vertebral arches. This restores blood flow, relieves pressure on the nerve, and eliminates pain caused by the nerve’s positioning. In cases of lumbar spine surgery, a special metal structure is installed to further stabilize the spine.
Doctors usually recommend undergoing a 6 weeks long rehabilitation course after a spinal surgery. A comprehensively designed program will help to reduce pain and inflammation, improve mobility and muscle strength of the spine, and allow patients to go about daily activities with greater ease.
Restorative therapy has the following goals:
- Improve the overall health
- Improve flexibility and strength of the spine
- Learn proper posture and modified body movements
- Accelerate the process of getting back to the normal lifestyle
Why do international patients choose treatment in Germany?
Germany is an internationally recognized center of medical tourism. People from all over the world come to Germany to treat back pain and spine diseases.
Spinal surgery is one of the leading fields of medicine in Germany. The specialists in spinal surgery in Germany are considered to be highly professional and experienced and are proficient both in conservative spinal treatment methods and in the latest surgical techniques.
Among German hospitals, there are specialized medical centers that annually treat a huge number of patients with spine conditions from all over the world.
To see the full list of hospitals specializing in spinal surgery in Germany, visit the Booking Health website.
The cost of treatment with spinal surgery
It is quite obvious that the cost of treatment depends on a number of factors, including the diagnosis, the disease severity, presence of accompanying diseases and complications, age of patients, anticipated treatment methods (conservative treatment or surgery), and the length of the hospital stay. Thus, hospitals in Germany are guided by the following factors when establishing a preliminary cost of treatment.
Estimates and invoices for treatment and diagnostics are made individually. Below you will find examples of approximate prices for treatment in clinics in Germany according to the standard case system (DGR).
The prices for spinal surgery for a spinal herniated disc start at 3,079 EUR. The prices for spinal stenosis treatment start at 3,670 EUR. The prices for the treatment of spinal cord malignant tumors start at 8,697 EUR. The prices for treating chronic spinal pain after interventions start at 5,436 EUR.
The cost of treatment in Germany for other diagnoses is listed on the Booking Health website.
How to undergo spinal surgery in Germany?
Unfortunately, it is not enough to find funds for treatment and a suitable clinic. To go to Germany, you need to have a visa, buy tickets, book the accommodation for the trip, etc. You can do it all yourself, but it is easier to entrust the arrangement to professionals.
Booking Health will solve any issues related to the trip, if necessary, will provide the services of an interpreter to ensure communication with doctors and staff of the clinic. We will help you to translate all the necessary documents and solve all the organizational problems to make your stay in Germany as comfortable as possible and let you focus on your recovery.
Fill in the request form on the Booking Health website to get a consultation on the specifics of your treatment in Germany.
Authors: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova, Dr. Sergey Pashchenko