Observing Spine Surgery at NeuroSpine Institute

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to spend the afternoon with NeuroSpine Institute Spine Surgeon, Dr Greg Cunningham and his surgical team at St John of God Hospital.

We at Guardian Exercise Rehabilitation have had the pleasure of working closely with the surgeons at NeuroSpine Institute for many years. The surgeons refer to Guardian Exercise Rehabilitation, almost exclusively, for therapeutic exercise based programs. Depending on the case, these programs are indicated pre-surgery and/or post-surgery, or if only conservative management is required. In recent years our Physiotherapists have been assisting NeuroSpine Institute patients, providing patients with pre and post surgical physiotherapy services.

The afternoon consisted of two common procedures – an L5/S1 anterior fusion, followed by an L3/4 and L4/5 laminectomy. Once all the necessary pre-op safety checks were completed, the high-tech surgical cameras and monitors throughout theatre allowed us to witness the impressive skills of Dr Cunningham – whether it was negotiating the major blood vessels while accessing the lumbar spine anteriorly, or accurately removing lamina before delicately conducting a nerve root decompression. On top of this, the experience was enhanced by the opportunity to  inspect the extracted disc and lamina fragments responsible for the patient’s symptoms.

Dr Cunningham explained during the procedures the surgical techniques involved, which highlighted the post-operative rehabilitation considerations we take and how subtle changes to surgical techniques can significantly alter the direction of rehabilitation. Of course, the differences between an anterior or posterior procedure has rehabilitation ramifications – with an anterior procedure having unique surgical challenges, but potentially accelerating rehabilitation due to less muscle damage through the surgery. It was fascinating to have Dr Cunningham explain and show us via the monitors how variables of the nerve root can alter post-operative symptoms.

At Guardian Exercise Rehabilitation, we are extremely fortunate to have such strong working relationships with surgeons such as Dr Cunningham and NeuroSpine Institute, as it allows us to excel in the sphere of post-operative exercise rehabilitation through unique experiences such as this. 

L-R: Dr Greg Cunningham, Ben Davis and our WA Area Manager, Amy-Lee Robilliard

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