Common Spinal Procedures

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is where two vertebrae are fused together. The idea is to fuse together the painful vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone.

Spinal fusion eliminates motion between vertebral segments. It is an option when motion is the source of pain. Your spine surgeon may recommend spinal fusion if you have spinal instability, a curvature (scoliosis), or severe degeneration of one or more of your discs. The theory is that if the painful spine segments do not move, they should not hurt.

In most cases, a bone graft is used to fuse the vertebrae. Screws, rods, or a cage are used to keep your spine stable while the bone graft heals. Full recovery can take more than a year.

Disc Replacement

 This procedure involves removing the disc and replacing it with an artificial disc. An artificial disc replacement is classified into two types, total disc replacement and disc nucleus replacement. Your spine surgeon will determine whether a total disc replacement or disc nucleus replacement is necessary.

The goal of disc replacement is to allow the spinal segment to maintain some flexibility and normal motion.

Discectomy

Discectomy involves removal of the damaged portion of a herniated disc. This procedure relieves pressure on the nerve, allowing sciatic to resolve. This can be done with a microdiscectomy or as a full discectomy.

Laminectomy 

A laminectomy procedure involves removing the laminas and bone spurs that are compressing the nerves. The pressure is relieved off the spinal canal, resulting in less nerve pain.

Kyphoplasty/Vertebroplasty

This procedure involves injecting cement into the broken bone to stabilize an osteoporotic compression fracture. The bone is stabilized and reduces the pain associated with the fracture. 

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