Back and neck injuries make it difficult to perform normal activities such as going to work, driving a car, or taking a walk. Severe injuries to the spinal cord may cause paraplegia (loss of function in the legs) or tetraplegia (loss of function in all four limbs), leaving an accident victim unable to get dressed, eat, use the bathroom, or perform many daily activities without assistance.
Tractor-trailer accidents may also cause spinal fractures or herniated discs. Spinal fractures are breaks in the bones that protect the spinal cord from damage. Spine fusion surgery, kyphoplasty, and vertebroplasty are surgical procedures used to relieve the pain of vertebral fractures. During spine fusion surgery, the surgeon adds a bone graft to the injured part of the spine. The bone graft eventually fuses two vertebrae together, which prevents the joint from moving and reduces pain. The vertebrae may also be held in place by rods, plates, or screws. Our team of Georgia truck accident lawyers have represented many clients who have needed back surgery because of a tractor-trailer accident.
Kyphoplasty is a procedure used to stabilize the fractured vertebra. During the procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision, inserts a tube into the back, and uses the tube to guide a special balloon to the fracture site. Once the balloon is in place, the surgeon inflates it, which pushes the fractured pieces of bone into a normal position. The balloon also creates a cavity inside the vertebra. The surgeon fills the cavity with a cement-like material that stabilizes the bone once it hardens. Vertebroplasty is very similar, except the surgeon injects the cement-like substance directly into the fractured bone instead of using a balloon to create a cavity inside the vertebra.
Someone with a herniated disc may need a laminotomy, discectomy, spinal fusion, or artificial disc surgery. During a laminotomy, the surgeon cuts into the lamina—the arched part of the vertebra—to relieve pressure on the nerve roots. Discectomy involves the removal of the disc or portion of the disc that is causing pressure on the nerve root. During artificial disc surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged disc and replaces it with a disc made of metal and plastic. All of these surgeries are painful, expensive, and could have been avoided had the tractor-trailer driver not caused an accident. Our team of Georgia truck accident lawyers regularly consult with treating surgeons on our clients treatments and surgeries.