What Are the Different Types of Spinal Surgery?

Photo: Back

If you’re experiencing back pain and considering an operation, the type of spinal surgery your physician recommends will depend on the condition you were diagnosed with. Having said that, herniated discspinal stenosisspondylolisthesis, and some other back concerns often have some overlapping treatment techniques. It’s important to understand all your available options, as well as the risks and benefits of each, before making a final decision. Our experienced orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Michael Dolphin, can help you determine which approach is best for your needs during your initial consultation.

Laminotomy: In this procedure, the surgeon removes a small section of the lamina bone, which is located on the back part of each vertebra, to alleviate nerve compression. Dr. Dolphin performs a minimally invasive technique for this and other spinal surgeries.

Laminectomy: In this procedure, the entire lamina is removed to provide greater room for the nerves. Again, a minimally invasive technique is often used, as it can allow for faster healing. In many cases this treatment may leave the spine less stable, so it’s often accompanied by a fusion.

Foraminotomy: In this procedure, bone is removed on the sides of one or more vertebrae to widen the space where the nerves leave the spine. As with a laminectomy, a fusion may be performed at the same time to maintain the stability of the spine.

Discectomy: In this procedure, the material protruding from a bulging or ruptured disc (cushion between the vertebrae) is removed to reduce pressure on the nerve or spinal cord. The remaining disc is left intact to maintain function. Both traditional open and minimally invasive (microdiscectomy) techniques can be performed.

Fusion: In this procedure, the affected disc will be removed to alleviate pressure on the nerve and/or spinal cord. Afterwards, the structure and stability of the spine will be maintained by a combination of plates, screws, and donated bone tissue.

Disc Replacement: In this procedure, the affected disc will be removed and replaced with an artificial disc, typically comprised of metal and polymer. Unlike in a fusion, this often allows the patient to maintain movement in the area once healed.

Every treatment plan at our practice is customized to best suit the patient’s individual needs. For more information, please reach out to our skilled medical team with any questions.