Understanding The 4 Most Common Spine Surgery Procedures

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi

Spine Dehydration

More than 500,000 spine surgeries are performed in the US each year, and while no two spines are exactly the same, oftentimes the type of operation is similar. In fact, four specific procedures make up the majority of spinal operations performed each year. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the four most common spinal procedures and explain why they may be ordered depending on your underlying condition.

The 4 Most Common Back Surgeries

Here’s a look at the four most common spinal procedures, and what they hope to accomplish.

  1. Discectomy – A discectomy, as the name implies, is a procedure aimed at addressing an issue with a spinal disc. Sometimes a portion of the damaged disc is removed, while other times the entire disc is removed and an artificial disc is inserted to help keep the spine stable. This is often ordered if a herniated disc is not responding well to conservative care or is causing significant nerve pain.
  2. Foraminotomy – Your spinal foramen is a bony hollow passageway through which spinal nerves travel. If this space shrinks due to natural degeneration or as a result of acute injury, this can lead to spinal nerve compression. During a foraminotomy, the surgeon works to increase the space in the spinal foramen so that nerves can pass through freely.
  3. Laminectomy – Your lamina is a portion of your vertebral bone that acts as the roof of the spinal canal. Oftentimes due to natural degeneration, the lamina will end up compressing key spinal nerves or the spinal canal. During a laminectomy, the surgeon removes the lamina in order to decompress the area. This procedure may be performed in conjunction with another operation like a fusion or discectomy to stabilize the area and ensure all compressing structures are removed.
  4. Spinal Fusion – The final of the four most common spinal procedures is the spinal fusion procedure. This involves the fusing of two adjacent vertebrae to limit movement in the area. This is especially helpful for areas in which disc degeneration has contributed to spinal instability and hypermobility. If your vertebrae are too mobile, problems and pain can develop. A fusion procedure helps to prevent this excess movement. It can be performed as a standalone procedure, or as a compliment to other decompression operations, like a discectomy or laminectomy.

These aren’t the only four spinal procedures available, but they are the four most common procedures performed on a regular basis. Dr. Sinicropi has performed each one of these surgeries countless times and has excellent success rates. To learn more about any of the above procedures, or to talk to him about your specific back pain, reach out to his office today.

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