The History of Back Surgery

The History of Back Surgery – What is called the Edwin Smith papyrus is a collection of Egyptian writings dating back to circa 1550 BC, containing information regarding methods to treat injuries occurred to the back of the body. In addition to being the father of medicine, Hippocrates is also named the father of spinal surgery thanks to his method, employing traction and immobilization. This method is also found in literatures of Arabic and Chinese. Spinal surgery only rose to prominence in early 1900s as surgical methods are widely accepted as dangerous thing previously.

In 1949, a method called pedicle screw fixation was invented. While this method was somewhat proven popular around that time, there are a lot of risks coming with it. Nerves and blood vessels damage is the risk a patient must face, especially if the placement of the screw is seen incorrect. Dr. Paul Harrington developed Harrington instrumentation system in 1953; a treatment consisted of employing straight rods to straighten up the curve of the spine. In 1976, Dr. Eduardo Lugue developed another rods-based treatment which was one step ahead of the previous method, which often resulted in hardware failures. Nevertheless, the Lugue’s system resulted in dysesthesia.

There are then a lot of procedures developed to give a patient more reliable and satisfying outcome from the back surgery. There are wedge osteotomies, endoscopic procedures, and spinal stapling to keep the spinal mobility in check. The purpose of these procedures is to minimally reduce damage to the back while a patient is undergoing a surgery, the risk of which may increase if the surgeon is invasively operating on an individual. Yet again; what seems to be harmless to one may not work in the same manner to another. Surgery, however, is still the last resort one can rely on. It can be very risky for a patient to rush himself/herself to a surgery given that the procedure may grant damage to tissues supporting the back-ligaments, tendons, and muscles.