What Are the Top Back Surgery Procedures?
For many people with back pain, back surgery is the last thing they want to think about. All too often, people imagine a long, painful procedure followed by extensive rehabilitation that will put them out of commission for work, sports and normal activities for several weeks.
However, if you’ve been living with long-term back pain and decreased mobility, spine surgery can provide numerous benefits. Successful surgery reduces your pain, improves your functional mobility, and allows you to enjoy social outings and physical activities without worrying about excruciating pain. And if you’ve been living with pain for a long time, you may not realize now how much it’s affecting your mood, energy levels and ability to perform well at work. Additionally, advances in surgical technologies have allowed more spine surgeries to be performed using minimally invasive techniques, which result in shorter procedures and less recovery time.
If you’re considering back surgery, do your research first. Below, learn more about common procedures, the advantages of minimally invasive techniques, and when it’s time to talk to your orthopedist about surgery.
Top Spine Surgery Procedures
Learn more about the most common surgical procedures.
- Discectomy. A discectomy is performed to treat a degenerated or herniated disc that’s pressing against spinal nerves and causing pain, numbness, weakness and other symptoms. During the procedure, an orthopedic surgeon will remove part or all of the damaged disc. In cases where the entire disc is removed, a disc replacement procedure or a spinal fusion is performed as well.
- Laminectomy. A laminectomy — also called a spinal decompression procedure — is performed to treat compressed nerves and spinal stenosis. During the procedure, an orthopedic surgeon will remove the lamina (the back part of the vertebrae), and sometimes bone spurs or ligaments, to decompress pinched nerves and create more space in the spine. If a large piece of bone has to be removed, a spinal fusion is performed as well to eliminate instability.
- Artificial disc replacement. An artificial disc replacement is performed to treat a degenerated, bulging or herniated spinal disc. During the procedure, an orthopedic surgeon removes the damaged disc and replaces it with a prosthetic implant. Artificial disc replacement may be a good alternative to spinal fusion for people who still have healthy facet joints and bones and no additional spinal instability.
- Spinal fusion. A spinal fusion is performed to treat a wide range of back conditions, including pinched nerves, degenerated or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spinal instability, facet joint arthritis and spinal deformities. It’s the most common type of spine surgery. During the procedure, an orthopedic surgeon removes an intervertebral spinal disc and fuses adjacent vertebrae to eliminate painful movement of the bones and joints.
New technology and surgical techniques have opened the door for many spine surgeries (including the ones listed above) to be performed as minimally invasive procedures. While open spine surgery requires a large incision that cuts through muscle and soft tissues, minimally invasive surgery requires a small incision (as small as 3-5 inches) and is muscle and tendon sparing.
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, our surgeons perform minimally invasive procedures on an outpatient basis so that you can go home the same day. Less invasive surgery requires less recovery time, and you could be back at work and participating in normal activities within a few weeks after surgery.
When Is It Time to Consider Back Surgery?
Many back conditions can be treated with non-surgical measures. However, if you’ve tried multiple treatments without relief, you may be wondering if it’s time to consider surgery. The following conditions may make you a good candidate for spine surgery:
- Medications, corticosteroid injections, activity modifications and physical therapy haven’t been effective for relieving pain or improving mobility and function
- You’re experiencing signs of nerve compression or damage (like muscle weakness and numbness) from a slipped disc or bone spur pressing against the nerves
- Your pain is persistent and debilitating, making it difficult for you to perform daily activities, walk, climb stairs or bend over
- You have recurrent herniated discs or a slipped disc that isn’t healing
- You’ve developed bowel and bladder control issues due to nerve compression or damage
If you’re experiencing any of the above, it’s time to talk to an experienced orthopedic surgeon about your options. At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, our board-certified physicians will perform a full evaluation, discuss all your treatment options and determine the minimally invasive surgical procedures that might be effective for your condition.
Integrity Spine and Orthopedics Specializes in Minimally Invasive Surgery
At Integrity Spine and Orthopedics, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons are specially trained in performing minimally invasive spine surgery to treat painful back conditions like compressed nerves, slipped discs, spinal stenosis, spinal arthritis, degenerative disc disease and spinal deformities. Our Jacksonville, Florida, clinic also provides pain management and orthopedic care services.
If you’re ready to get back on your feet and back to doing the activities you love, call us or reach out online to schedule an appointment.
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