Neck and Back Surgery
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Our specialists at UM St. Joseph Medical Center perform the latest minimally invasive procedures aimed at safely relieving symptoms of spinal disorders and improving your quality of life.
Spinal fusion is used to join two or more vertebrae (the small bones that make up your spine), preventing movement between them and thus improving the stability of your spine. It can be performed on the neck, middle or lower back region of the spine. This procedure helps alleviate pain caused by common conditions such as:
- Spondylolisthesis (a condition in which a spinal bone slips out of position and falls onto the bone beneath it)
- Degenerative disc disease (wear and tear on spinal discs leading to neck and back pain)
- Scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine, typically diagnosed in adolescents)
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spaces within your spine that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots)
Spinal fusion can be performed on an outpatient basis. You may go home the same day or you may need a one- or two-night hospital stay. Physical therapy may be recommended post-surgery to help strengthen your back muscles.
XLIF and TLIF
Our surgeons most often perform two types of spinal fusion surgery: eXtreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) and transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF). Both procedures are intended to treat back and leg pain.
- XLIF, a minimally invasive lumbar (lower back) fusion technique, allows for access to the spine through the side of the body instead of the front or back, sparing your back muscles and resulting in a faster recovery time than that from traditional spine surgeries.
- During TILF, also a minimally invasive lumbar technique, the surgeon must access the spine through the back of the body to fuse and stabilize bones in the lower back region for overall spinal stability.
Another minimally invasive method, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) is used to remove a disc causing pressure on the cervical (neck) spinal cord or nerves and pain or discomfort in your neck and arms.
ACDF is performed by making a small incision in the front of your neck, through which the surgeon accesses the spine and removes the damaged disc. Bone grafting (surgery to implant new bone or bone substitutes) is then performed in the area where the disc used to be. Actual bone graft can be taken from either your own healthy bone (an autograft) or donated bone (allograft). In some cases, an artificial bone substitute is used. Over time, the bone graft fuses to your other spinal bones, helping to stabilize your spine.
After ACDF, you may go home the same day or you may need to stay at the hospital overnight.
- Laminotomy involves removing a small portion of the lamina (the back part of a vertebra) to relieve pressure in a certain area of your spine.
- Laminectomy involves the removal of all or part of the lamina of one or more vertebrae to relieve pressure on the discs and nerves. Laminectomy may include spinal fusion.
Both laminotomy and laminectomy begin with an incision in your back or neck, depending on the area of the spine that is causing problems. The size of incisions is typically smaller with minimally invasive procedures like laminotomy and laminectomy versus more traditional procedures. Our spine team is constantly seeking ways to reduce invasiveness and enhance favorable patient outcomes.
After laminotomy or laminectomy, you may return home either the same day or after a one- or two-night hospital stay. Rehabilitation/physical therapy may be recommended post-surgery.
The goal of cervical disc replacement surgery is to relieve nerve compression and maintain motion at the area of the replacement. During the procedure, a damaged (or herniated) disc is replaced with an artificial one.
Cervical discs support the spinal bones in your neck. Cervical disc replacement is often recommended if you are suffering from symptoms of degenerative disc disease in the neck area. Not everyone is a candidate for the procedure, and not all insurance companies cover it.
The surgeon will begin cervical disc replacement surgery by making a small incision in the front of your neck to access to the injured disc. The surgeon will then remove the damaged disc and insert an artificial disc (typically made of metal and polyethylene, the same materials used in hip and knee replacements).
Cervical disc replacement can be performed as an outpatient surgery, but you may still need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Microdiscectomy and discectomy are spinal decompression surgeries that involve the removal of a damaged (or herniated) disc to reduce pressure on the nerves or spinal cord.
Whereas discectomy is an invasive surgery requiring more anesthesia, a large incision and a longer operation time, microdiscectomy is a faster, minimally invasive procedure that is performed through a much smaller incision and involves use of a specialized surgical microscope and other special instruments.
Your recovery from a microdiscectomy, which is typically an outpatient procedure, is also faster. (Discectomy performed with a laminectomy often requires an overnight hospital stay afterward.)
To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, call the spine team at UM St. Joseph Medical Center at 410-337-4882. Meet our expert spine team.