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Guest Blog: What You Need to Know About a Hemilaminectomy Procedure

This procedure is one of the safest, most minimally invasive treatments for a herniated disc. A Hemilaminectomy procedure is performed on patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. This diagnosis can come from several issues, such as Arthritis in the spine, which all result in pinched nerves. This procedure is perfect for someone suffering from a condition that occurs when the nerves are being pinched, resulting in severe pain running down the legs and into the feet. So here is what you need to know about the Hemilaminectomy procedure.

What is a Hemilaminectomy Procedure?

A hemilaminectomy is a surgical procedure performed on patients afflicted with lumbar spinal stenosis. This type of spine disorder occurs when the spinal column disc has been compressed over time and onward, which causes ongoing severe pain and discomfort for the patient.

The lumbar spinal discs are cushions of cartilage that sit between vertebrae. This condition occurs because of the pressure that builds up on these discs over time, which causes the pain to be extreme.

How is the Hemilaminectomy Procedure Performed?

This surgery is performed through a small incision on the back. Then special retractors are used to push apart the muscles in the mid-section of the back. This is a much more delicate surgery that must be performed through a small incision.

Because of this, it is usually performed on anyone under general or spinal anesthesia. As long as there are no problems with the patient, they should be able to wake up from the surgery in a few hours and go home after a day or two. This procedure is the least invasive option for patients who have chronic problems with their back.

When You Should Consider a Hemilaminectomy Procedure

This operation should be performed when symptoms of chronic pain are present. Some of these issues can occur from a pinched nerve that travels from the back down to the legs. It is also a procedure that is an option when there is a pressing issue with any of the pinched nerve issues.

Sometimes, this spinal disc can become herniated, which means that the pressure has become too much for it to handle and causes pressure on nearby nerves or bones. This is one of the most common conditions seen in lumbar spinal stenosis.

Sometimes, you can freeze off this spinal disc with a surgical fix by freezing it with an instrument, but Hemilaminectomy is the ultimate fix for this condition.

How Long Does Recovering Take After the Procedure?

Patients who undergo the Hemilaminectomy procedure will benefit immediately from this operation. After the surgery, most people have a day of recovery time before they are allowed to go home.

In most cases, patients return and participate in their normal activities within a few weeks of their Hemilaminectomy surgery. This general timeline is important because it provides comfort to the patient, knowing what they should expect when they decide to undergo this type of surgery.

The Risks of a Hemilaminectomy Procedure

As with any surgery, some risks come with it. Risks can include internal and external problems that may arise during the procedure. Some of these risks can include:

  • Blood clots in the legs
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Spinal Fluid Leakage
  • Allergic reaction to the anesthesia

In addition to this list, some risks are more common after a Hemilaminectomy procedure. This is because it is a less invasive surgery involving limited incisions in the patient’s back. After several months into the recovery process, it is possible at some point for the herniated disc to be recurring to a small degree.

This is something that most patients don’t have to worry about after a few months of recovery, but some patients do deal with a recurrent disc for the rest of their life. In such cases, it is important to get checked regularly.

Conclusion

The Hemilaminectomy procedure has become the preferred choice for most doctors regarding a full spine fix. This is because this procedure involves less invasive incisions, resulting in quicker recovery and improved patient comfort. This type of surgery is an option that is best for patients with debilitating conditions that affect their daily lives.

 

By |2024-02-01T14:32:51-05:00March 8th, 2024|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: What You Need to Know About a Hemilaminectomy Procedure

Five Tips to Surviving Your Husband’s Retirement

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I remember when my father retired at the age of 62 from a busy career as a pediatric surgeon. I thought he would be bored, but he had already compiled a notebook full of chores to do around the house, places he wanted to go, and a bucket list of other accomplishments that had been put on hold. Shortly after his retirement, my Mom confided in me that it was a bit of an adjustment having Dad home all the time. Suddenly, Mom said she seemed to no longer be able to cook right after about 40 years of doing this on her own. Dad had a better way to do things, after all. Once I saw Mom trying to wrap a gift and the wrapping paper seemed too small for the size of present. Dad was trying to give her step by step instructions and after snapping at her, Mom let him wrap the gift himself. Now, while I do concede that Dad was able to wrap the gift absolutely perfectly with the allotted paper, Mom and I gave each other a knowing glance and smiled. Ah, retirement.

So, when my own husband announced that he was going to retire and sell his share of the business at the age of 51, I knew I had to take some action to give our marriage the best chance to survive and thrive against this new challenge. After all, when my father-in-law retired, my mother-in-law had to encourage him to get a part-time job so she could have some “peace”. Even she was a bit concerned when my husband decided to take early retirement. Here I offer my short bit of wisdom, gleaned not only from my own experience but also from many wise women who gave me their sage advice to prepare for this season of life: when your husband retires.

Set the ground rules. I had fortunately learned during a brief period when my husband was working from home that there were certain things that would have to be agreed upon before he ever retired if we were to live peaceably. For example, he was not allowed to take over any of my former responsibilities unless I asked him to. Driving the kids around to activities can be helpful, but trying to wash the shrinkable clothes was not. Taking us out to eat after I worked all day was fine, but trying to take over the kitchen was off limits. Helping the kids with business math (not my area of expertise) was great, but trying to be the full-time homeschool Dad was not going to work for any of us.

Have separate work spaces. Jim and I cannot share a computer. I teach partially online and spend lots of time working from home with consulting. We agreed early on that he would set up a separate place in a different part of the house for his computer and desk. This has created much harmony over sharing the work space.

Allow everyone time to adjust to the change. I must admit that it took me several weeks, maybe even months, to realize that my husband was truly going to retire. Once he was home all the time, the reality gradually set in, but I kept reminding myself to give us all an adaptation period as if we were starting a new job orientation, because things were definitely going to change. Our two teenagers were the most leery of Dad being home all the time. For them, the ground rules (i.e. “please just let us do our work and don’t change our routine”) were particularly essential.

Accept your differences. My husband is a problem-solver and savior. He likes a challenge and wants to fix everything for everyone if he can. While I admire this about him, I didn’t want him to fix the nice structure and functionality by which our home was already running. I learned to embrace his strengths and encourage him to accept my weaknesses (like overindulging in carbs and worrying about things I can’t control). He likes to exercise every day, watch sports, and spend time on the landscaping. I would rather take the kids to the movies and go shopping. And that had to be ok.

Embrace the positives. While I was a bit skeptical about how our lives would change with my husband retiring so soon, there are so many things to celebrate that I am daily embracing the wonderful opportunities and blessings that his retirement has brought to our family. We are free to travel more. He accompanies me on business trips, even to China twice! He is much more relaxed and pleasant. It makes our family happy to see him have the time and resources to do what he enjoys. Jim keeps busy all of the time and yet does not have the daily pressure of work-related stress. We spend more time with family and have plans to move nearer to the grandchildren and to a better climate.

For all the women who are warily facing their husband’s retirement, take heart. I can honestly say that with some forward and deliberate planning, my husband’s retirement is one of the best things that has ever happened to us!

By |2024-02-01T14:32:35-05:00March 6th, 2024|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Five Tips to Surviving Your Husband’s Retirement

Guest Blog: Best Ways to Support a Loved One After a Stroke

A stroke is a serious, life-changing event that occurs when the brain becomes cut off from its oxygen supply due to bleeding or a blocked artery. Fortunately, many people are able to regain most of their cognitive function by following the guidance of their doctors, physical therapists, and speech pathologists. If your loved one has recently suffered from a stroke, there are many ways you can help facilitate their recovery and improve their quality of life.

Rebuild Skills Through Stimulation And Repetitive Practicing

While recovering from a stroke can be a long and often frustrating process, it is important to help them stay on track through purposeful stimulation and repetitive practice. Practicing simple daily tasks is necessary for the neural pathways to rebuild efficiently. Even simple, repetitive motions like leg bends and hand exercises are critical if your loved one is to gain full recovery after a stroke.

Help They Stay Consistent With Full Body Exercises

Your loved one’s physical therapist plays a critical role on their path to stroke recovery. They know exactly which exercises to prescribe for their clients in order to address any lasting effects their stroke has had on their mobility and quality of life. If your loved one struggles with walking after a stroke they may be instructed to complete a series of core, leg, and feet exercises to improve their mobility. Be sure to help them practice these moves on a regular basis and provide ample encouragement along the way.

Don’t Underestimate The Healing Power Of Sleep

Sleep is a powerful healer. Studies have shown that those who have experienced a stroke are more likely to regain mobility and improved neuroplasticity if they receive a healthy amount of sleep every night. Subsequently, stroke survivors who struggle with sleep issues such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome tend to have poorer recovery outcomes. If your loved one is struggling to get enough sleep after they have suffered a stroke it’s important to let their doctor know so they can get to the root of the underlying issue.

Boost Neurogenesis With A Healthy Diet

Your loved one’s diet can play a huge role in how well they are able to recover from a stroke. Certain types of foods promote healthy brain functioning and neurogenesis. You can help your loved one incorporate these foods into their diet by helping them with their grocery shopping and incorporating foods like fish, fresh berries, and nuts into their diet. Leafy greens, legumes, and whole wheat are also good choices for stroke patients. Be sure to consult their physician before making dietary changes, especially if they also have special restrictions due to diabetes or high blood pressure.

Prevent Regression By Helping Them Maintain Consistency

Recovering from a stroke can be a lengthy and frustrating process, especially since mobility gains are often incremental. This can be disheartening for loved ones who may have lived a very robust and active lifestyle prior to their stroke. Not only is recovery frustrating, but it can also be a lonely experience, especially if your loved one has lost their ability to communicate as well. Try to be as active as possible in their recovery process and provide ample encouragement along the way.

Incorporate Apps Into Their Recovery Treatment Plan

Aphasia is a common condition that affects a person’s ability to understand and communicate and is commonly associated with stroke. Aphasia presents differently in all patients and can be as mild as a speech impediment or as catastrophic as total communication loss. Fortunately, there are inexpensive apps you can download for your loved one that will help them improve their language and cognitive skills. If you’re unsure which apps would be most beneficial you should consult their speech pathologist. They will be most familiar with your loved one’s specific needs and can point you in the right direction.

Closing Thoughts

Although there might be some plateaus along the way, you can help your loved one successfully recover from a stroke. By helping them stay consistent with their exercises and accompanying them to their appointments whenever you can, your loved one has a greater chance of regaining their cognitive abilities and significantly improving their quality of life.

 

By |2024-02-01T14:32:19-05:00March 4th, 2024|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Guest Blog: Best Ways to Support a Loved One After a Stroke

Starting the Conversation: How to Talk to Your Parents About Senior Care

Contributing Author: Christopher Norman, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner

An inevitable process has begun: Your parents are growing older. Maybe they are struggling to keep up with their personal needs, or they have worsening physical limitations. Whatever the reason, you realize it’s time to talk with them about senior care. If you are nervous about initiating this conversation, you are certainly not alone.

Seniors often resist this conversation for a variety of reasons. Transitioning from giving care as a parent to receiving care from others can be a difficult adjustment. Additionally, many seniors resist accepting help because it means acknowledging the passage of time and the loss of independence.

Regardless of why your parents are hesitant to acknowledge their need for help, the way you approach this conversation can make a huge difference in the way they respond. Below are a few tips you can use in navigating this difficult topic together.

Start By Listening
Not sure where to begin? The secret ingredients for a constructive conversation on the topic of senior care are empathy and active listening. Before you begin to share your point of view, ask open-ended questions to uncover what they think, feel, and believe about aging and senior care.

Be Prepared to Offer Solutions
As you transition to a discussion about specific senior care options, your parents will likely be much more receptive to your input if you take the role of a knowledgeable advisor. If you research ahead of time, you can be prepared to lay out their options and work through any barriers, whether real or perceived. Two of the most important topics to read up on are:

Finances. One of the older generation’s chief concerns is finances – how to pay for the care they need will most almost definitely be a point of concern. Prior to broaching the topic of senior care, learn about the different payment options and financial assistance available for the various levels of senior care, such as in-home care and assisted living.

Aging in place. Many seniors prefer to live in their own homes for as long as possible – also referred to as “aging in place.” Be ready to discuss the need for in-home care and the need to find or adapt a home with “Universal Design” principles, such as no-step entryways, walk-in bathtubs, and wide hallways. Another key component of safely aging in place is assistive technology such as a medical alert system, which provides access to immediate help in an emergency. Research the costs and options available from different companies, and consider adding a home security and automation system as well.

Keep Your Final Goal in Mind
It is difficult to predict exactly how the conversation about senior care will be received by your parents, but as long as you listen, empathize, and are prepared to answer questions, you can make this difficult transition easier on everyone. You can then move forward together to find a senior care option that gives peace of mind to both you and your parents, with the ultimate goal being their safety, health, and happiness.

By |2024-02-01T14:32:03-05:00March 2nd, 2024|Dr. Mauk's Boomer Blog, News Posts|Comments Off on Starting the Conversation: How to Talk to Your Parents About Senior Care