Spine Procedures

Select a procedure to learn how we may help you.


Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Traditional spinal surgeries usually require large incisions and stripping away the muscles of the spinal column just to get to a herniated disc. Now, new technology allows these complex procedures to be performed with the help of a microscope to magnify and illuminate the damaged area. Instead of stripping away the muscle, your surgeon can use a microscope to view the area through a much smaller incision and create a tunnel to the disc. This is done by splitting the muscle to pass the instrument through.

Minimally invasive procedures result in less visible scars and shorter recovery times. A discectomy, or removal of the disc, can often be performed this way. Your doctor will decide if a minimally invasive procedure is right for you.


Lumbar Microdiscectomy

A lumbar microdiscectomy is performed to relieve pressure on nerve roots caused by a severe herniated disc in the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is the lower area consisting of the bottom five vertebrae. A herniated disc may cause lower back pain and pain or numbness in the legs and feet. Surgery may be needed if symptoms include severe leg pain, weakness or numbness in the extremities and impaired bowel or bladder function.

A lumbar microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure. A microscope is used to view the area through a small incision in the lower back to view the pinched nerve. Surgical instruments are then inserted through the incision to remove only the portion of the disc that is applying pressure on it, as well as any disc fragments that may have broken off.


Lumbar Spinal Fusion (or Thoracic)

Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure used to link together vertebrae, often because of a severely damaged disc. Discs can be damaged from rupturing, slipping, natural degeneration or injury. The damaged disc can cause severe leg and back pain and may require surgery if the pain is not relieved by conservative treatment.

During spinal fusion surgery, bone growth is stimulated and then used to link the vertebrae together to stop the painful movement in the area. The procedure can be performed through the front or back of the spine depending on the location of the damaged disc. Titanium metal screws or a titanium metal cage can be used to fuse the bone together.


Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery removes an intervertebral disc and/or bone spurs that are putting pressure on nerve roots. This condition is a result of a herniated or degenerated disc and is known as nerve root compression. Nerve root compression can lead to pain in the neck and arms, lack or coordination, and numbness or weakness in the arms.The removed disc may be replaced with a small bone graft which will allow the vertebrae to fuse together over time. A metal plate may be inserted to stabilize the spine while it heals. As the name describes, this procedures is done through the front, or anterior, of the body. An incision is made in the front of the neck, to one side and the disc is removed. Removing the herniated disc relieves the pressure placed on the nerve root and therefore relieves the symptoms as well.

Laminectomy for Spinal Stenosis

A laminectomy relieves nerve pressure and pain caused by spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain throughout the spine and extremities. It can develop as a result of bone spurs or just from aging. In this procedure, a small section of bone that covers the back of the spinal cord, called the lamina, is removed to relieve the compression.

A laminectomy is performed through the back of the spine under general anesthesia. The removal of the lamina and any bone spurs relieves the pressure on the spinal cord. The procedure may be done without fusion, or it can be performed in conjunction with a spinal fusion. A less invasive surgical option known as an interspinous process distraction device is also available to treat some forms of spinal stenosis. Your doctor will decide if this option is right for you.


Treatment of Fracture

Like any other bone in your body, the bones of the spine, called vertebrae, can fracture. These fractures are usually a result of osteoporosis, pressure on the spine, metastatic diseases, a fall or other type of injury. A spinal fracture is called a vertebral compression fracture and occurs most often in the thoracic or middle spine.

Compression fractures can cause mild to severe pain depending on how they occur. Treatment usually includes pain medication, rest and bracing. Medication simply relieves the pain but bracing will restrict movement, relieve pressure and allow the fracture to heal. Surgery may be required for more severe fractures, and a minimally invasive surgical option is now available to treat compression fractures that result in severe back pain. Taking measures to prevent compression fractures is the most effective treatment.


Spinal Tumor Resection

Spinal tumors are similar to any other type of tumor. Their cause is unknown but they can occur as a primary tumor or as a result of the spread of cancer from another area. Spinal tumors can cause back pain, loss of sensation, muscle weakness and spasms. Like other tumors, these must be treated quickly and effectively so they do not spread to other areas.

Complete tumor resection is usually most effective in treating spinal tumors. Many spinal tumors are easy to remove because they do not form on the actual spinal cord. Others may be harder to remove because they cannot be distinguished from normal spinal tissue. Successful resection can relieve pain and significantly benefit the patient. These procedures may be followed by radiation therapy to ensure complete removal of the tumor.


Release of Tethered Spinal Cord

The spinal cord can sometimes become tethered to an immobile part of the lower spine, causing restricted movement and a pulled or stretched spinal cord, which can lead to neurological deterioration. A tethered spinal cord can cause pain in the lower back or legs, weakness in the legs or feet, loss of sensation, incontinence and scoliosis. Many patients with a tethered spinal cord have a mark or discoloration on their lower back called a cutaneous marker.

A tethered spinal cord does not often respond to medication and more effective methods are needed. Surgeons typically use a magnifying device for a more detailed view of the area. Unfortunately, the healing process for this procedure often causes the spinal cord to become tethered once again. Talk to your doctor about the risk of this procedure and if it is right for you.


Closure of Spina Bifida

Spina bifida, meaning cleft spine, is a disease characterized by incomplete development of the brain, spinal cord and meninges. Spina bifida can cause range from no visible symptoms to a protrusion from the spinal cord visible on the back. It can eventually cause physical and mental disabilities.

There is no cure for spina bifida and damaged nerve tissue cannot be repaired, but treatment can be done to prevent further damage. Surgery to close incomplete spinal cord is performed in most children with spina bifida and can sometimes be performed while in utero. It is best for this surgery to be performed as early as possible to prevent further neurological damage.


Spine Navigation

Computer assisted surgery (CAS) works similarly to a car’s navigation system by continuously tracking surgical instruments in relation to 3D images of your spine. This additional visual guidance helps minimize the risk of damaging critical structures like the spinal cord or nerve roots, allowing for an even more successful spine surgery.

Spine navigation provides greater confidence and accuracy in traditional open procedures, as well as advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques, reducing the need for intra-operative x-rays and thereby radiation exposure to both, patient and surgeon.

Benefits of spine navigation:

  • Supports minimally invasive approach
  • More accurate guidance for screw placement
  • Reduces radiation exposure to patient and surgical team
  • May reduce reoperation rate

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