Spine surgery has a considerable amount of benefits and risks and should be considered carefully. The following are the common types of spine surgery.
- Spinal Fusion. Vertebra is fused together. This limits the motion of the spine and reduces the amount of additional nerve damage. The limited motion of the spine does not hinder the physical activity of patient a great deal.
- Laminectomy. This process involves the removal of either a part of a bone, a bone spur, or a ligament that is putting pressure on a spinal nerve. This reduces pain and or weakness. It also increases the odds that the spine will have some weakness and instability. A spinal fusion may be required.
- Foraminotomy. In order to relieve pressure on the nerves, bone is removed from either side of the vertebrae to open the area where the nerves leave the spine. This relives the pain. It also may cause some weakness and instability of the spine, making it necessary to perform a spinal fusion as well.
- Discectomy. Discs are the cushions that separate the individual vertebrae. When a disc is “bulging” or has “slipped,” it puts pressure on the spinal nerve and causes pain. A surgeon will remove either part or the whole disc to alleviate the pain.
- Disc Replacement. A damaged disc is replaced with an artificial disc. This option increases the chances of full-motion of the spine.
Interlaminar Implant. A u-shaped device is placed between the bones in the back. It maintains the space between the vertebrae and relieves pressure on the nerves. This procedure does not compromise stability and allows for full range of motion.
Minimally Invasive Spine surgery
Advances in the field have allowed surgeons to treat more spine pain cases with smaller incisions, instead of the traditional long incision. By using these techniques, patients usually recover much faster because there is less movement of the muscles around the spine.
Cervical Spine Surgery
This procedure is often times elective and it is used to treat the symptoms of Cervical Radiculopathy. The nerves are decompressed and the spine is stabilized. There are several different methods and options for this procedure and the right one will depend on the patients particular symptoms.
Lumbar Spine Surgery
Any surgery that is performed on the lower back is considered lumbar surgery. Lumbar surgeries typically fall into two general types – Lumbar Decompression or Lumbar Fusion.
- Lumbar Decompression. The goal of decompression surgery is to reduce the pressure caused by pinching of the nerve roots. The pain is usually caused by a lumbar herniated disc or lumbar spinal stenosis. The pain is referred to as either sciatica or radiculopathy. Common procedures to treat are microdiscedtomy and the laminectomy, where a portion of the bone that is pinching the nerve is removed and the nerve is allowed to heal.
- Lumbar Fusion. The goal of this procedure is to limit the motion that is causing the pain. This procedure is used to treat lumbar degenerative disc disease or a spondylolisthesis.
Endoscopic Spine Surgery
Laser Spine Surgery
There is a lot of marketing hype over the use of lasers in spine surgery. The fact is there has not been many clinical trials conducted to evaluate the effectiveness. Another little known fact is that there does not have to be an incision made in order to move the laser over the spine and remove the bone and ligaments.
Thoracic Spine Surgery
Thoracic spine surgery is reserved for treatment of thoracic herniated discs when non-surgical options like rest, medication and physical therapy have failed. The disc may press against the spinal cord causing pain that feels like it radiating through the chest. It can be surgically treated by any of the following procedures: Laminectomy, Discectomy, Transthoracic Decompression, Costotransversectomy or fusion.
See Spine Surgery.