5 Common Spine Surgery Acronyms

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

spine surgerySpine surgery is incredibly complex. As with any type of surgery, there are a number of acronyms for conditions, procedures, and treatments that spine surgeons use regularly. Unless you are a medical professional, these acronyms will likely be nothing more than jargon to you. In this article we are going to break down a few of the most common spine surgery acronyms, terms, and phrases so you have a better understanding of your treatment options.


ACDF stands for Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion. This is a minimally invasive surgery to the cervical (neck) region of the spine that involves removing a degenerated disc and fusing the adjacent spinal vertebrae. Read more about ACDF surgery here.


XLIF is an Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion. Typically, a surgeon will perform a fusion by going through the back (posterior) or front (anterior) of the patient’s body. This procedure involves approaching the vertebrae from the side (laterally).


ADR is an Artificial Disc Replacement. This surgical procedure entails extracting a degenerative or herniated spinal disc and replacing it with an artificial disc.


RFA, or Radiofrequency Ablation, is a treatment method in which nerve tissues are heated with radio waves to disrupt pain signals and decrease pain. It is most helpful in treating chronic back pain.


SCS is an abbreviation of Spinal Cord Stimulation. In this treatment option, a small device is implanted into a patient’s body, and small electrical currents are sent to the spinal nerves in order to block pain signals. Read more about spinal cord stimulation on our previous blog.

These are just a few of the many acronyms used by spine surgeons. If you are ever confused about any acronyms, terms, or phrases, ask your physician to explain. It’s always good to educate yourself on the various treatment options available to you if you are suffering from back pain. Consult a spine specialist to determine which option is best for your situation.

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