6 Types of Spine Surgery

Irvine Spine Surgeon

Many back pain cases go away with conservative treatment or by themselves. But for those that do require surgery, there are many options available today. If your doctor has recommended spine surgery, it may include one of the following procedures after consulting with a specialist spine surgeon in Irvine, CA:

1. Microdiscectomy

This is a very common procedure performed in the U.S. and the best candidates are patients with pain in the lower back who also suffer from numbness, weakness, tingling, and leg pain. A microdiscectomy addresses herniated (ruptured) or bulging discs by removing the part of a disc that is putting pressure on a nerve. This is one of the minimally-invasive spinal surgeries, which involves a very small incision on the side that is affected or in the center of the patient’s back. 

2. Laminectomy

The spinal canal includes a lining where the ligaments and nerves pass. Due to wear and tear and getting older, these ligaments start to thicken and bone spurs might occur caused by conditions such as osteoarthritis. When this happens it can cause the discs in the back to rupture (herniate) or bulge.

This causes pressure to the areas where the nerves pass through. This narrowing is called spinal stenosis. A laminectomy is a type of surgery that opens this space to relieve the pressure placed on the ligaments and nerves. During these procedures, the lamina (part of the back of a vertebra) will be removed. This enlarges the canal in the spine and this removes pressure placed on the nerves. 

3. Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusions are procedures that permanently join two (sometimes more) bones in the spine. This surgery is usually performed on patients that have severe nerve compression caused by instability or when spinal revision surgery is required.

During a spinal fusion, the patient’s spine will be stabilized with rods and screws, and the disc or discs that cause the compression are replaced with a bone graft and fusion device. It takes many weeks for patients to recover from this type of surgery, but the average success rate is over 85% when it comes to pain improvement. 

4. Kyphoplasty

These procedures are typically performed by surgeons, interventional radiologists, or pain management specialists. With the use of X-ray guidance, the surgeon inserts a tiny instrument into the patient’s vertebra. From here a type of balloon will be inflated in the vertebra to make space for the “bone cement”, which is then injected next. After injecting the cement patients can usually return home within a couple of hours. 

5. Disc Replacement

This procedure is still relatively new and less invasive. It is an alternative to spinal fusion which can work in some patients. This surgery addresses pinched nerves or spinal cord compressions that occur in the lumbar or cervical spine. After removing the disc, it is replaced with an “artificial disc”. These devices allow for more motion when compared to a traditional fusion procedure where motion is prevented due to the fused bones. 

6. ACDF (Anterior Cervical Discectomy And Fusion)

This is another cervical spine procedure. It is a neck surgery type that is aimed at relieving numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the arms when caused by stenosis that occurs in the cervical spine or a pinched nerve.

During the procedure, the disc that is damaged will be removed through an incision that is made to the front or side of the patient’s neck (off the midline of the center of the neck). The disc is then replaced with either a specialized spacer or bone graft with a tiny plate that features screws. These bone grafts or specialized spacers are designed to stabilize the patient’s spine.

We understand there are numerous types of procedures that are not on the list and each patient’s case is very unique. Always ensure you speak with a professional spine surgeon in Irvine, CA or your local city to find which treatment is best for you.