Just two days after Steelers LB, Ryan Shazier injured his back from a brutal hit, he underwent spinal stabilization surgery. Here’s five facts about the procedure.
Steelers LB, Ryan Shazier, 25, remains hospitalized after taking a brutal hit during Pittsburgh’s win over the Bengals on Monday night. In a collision with Cincinnati receiver, Josh Malone, Shazier had to be carted off the field, where he was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Upon attempting the tackle, Shazier’s legs appeared to go limp as he held his lower back. Just two days after injuring his spine, he underwent spinal stabilization surgery. Here’s key facts about the procedure and the latest update involving Shazier’s injury.
1. What is spinal stabilization surgery? — There are numerous different surgeries to stabilize the spine. When the spine is unstable, a common surgery performed involves instrumentation. Doctors will fuse the backbones together using instrumentation and hardware, such as screws and plates. Instrumentation often coincides with decompression to take pressure off the spinal cord. Before the hardware is inserted, a surgeon will remove parts of the spine that are pressing on the nerves. The surgery relieves pain, as well as other symptoms, and ultimately, will stabilize the spine.
2. When does spinal stabilization surgery need to be performed? — The surgery can be done for a number of reasons; spinal tumors, discs, scoliosis or other spinal deformities, or trauma to the spine.
3. Spinal stabilization doesn’t always require surgery. — The spine can be stabilized from the outside using braces. It can be stabilized from the inside as well, which requires surgery.
4. What is the recovery period after spinal stabilization surgery? — Activity is limited after surgery to allow the bones to grow and fuse together. Therefore, patients are advised not to bend, lift or twist after surgery. Post-op care depends on the type of spinal stabilization surgery a patient undergoes. However, therapy usually begins the first week after surgery with walking in stretching techniques, followed by static stabilization exercises, Dr. Maria Simbra tells CBS Pittsburgh. The exercises involve the arms and legs without rocking, arching or moving the trunk. Simbra says it typically takes six months to fully recover.
5. What is the most recent update involving Ryan Shazier’s condition? — After Steelers GM and VP, Kevin Colbert, released a statement which said Shazier did not require surgery [at the time] soon after being hospitalized, Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery two days after his hit. After the surgery, UPMC neurosurgeons and the Steelers team physicians released a statement that Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery. They did not provided further information. Shazier’s fiancee, Michelle Rodriquez, 25, continues to ask for prayers on social media. The time table for his return remains unknown. However, the Steelers continue to remain positive.
Dr. Anthony Alessi, a neurologist who consults with the NFLPA, told Michele Steele of ESPN.com that Shazier “may not play football again” and that this surgery indicates “this is a much more severe situation on our hands than we thought.”
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