Types of Back Surgeries

Types of Back Surgeries

Types of Back Surgeries JOIImage of the back

By: Ehren Allen, PT, CMT

Depending on the injury, there are several elective surgeries that may be performed and should be discussed in depth with the surgeon.  The three main types of surgeries for the back are:

  • Laminectomy - A laminectomy is when the surgeon removes a piece of bone off the vertebrae known as the lamina. This surgery is typically performed to reduce compression off of the one or multiple nerve roots. The vertebra can sometimes have bony growths off of the lamina which narrows the spinal column and can compress a nerve root. So, this surgery is to remove the piece of bone to decompress the nerve and relieve the patient’s symptoms.
  • Discectomy - Similar to a laminectomy, a discectomy is the removal of a piece of the vertebral disc. A vertebral disc can also apply pressure to the spinal column and nerve root. A herniation of the vertebral disc is a common back injury. The vertebral disc protrudes out of its normal space and can rupture. This protrusion then pushes on the nerves and nerve roots which can cause a patient pain that travels down the legs. 
  • Spinal Fusion - Spinal fusion is the most invasive of the three surgeries. A spinal fusion involves fusion two or more vertebrae together to eliminate motion between the joints. A spinal fusion is typically recommended in patients with arthritic changes between vertebrae. The theory is, movement between arthritic joints leads to pain. So, if movement between the joints is removed or eliminated, the patient should see an improvement in their symptoms.

Low Back Pain

Back pain can be one of the most frustrating injuries to manage. Back nerve pain or some may say they have a pinched nerve in their back,  has become a very common issue and affects up to 80% of the adult population in America. Back pain is also one of the leading causes of disability for people under 45 years of age.

Almost 13 million people go to see a doctor with complaints of back pain each year. In most cases, patients with back pain will improve with formal physical therapy and simple self-management. 

Patients usually need to focus on strengthening, postural correction, functional movement correction and stretching. Unfortunately, some patients do not improve with physical therapy or self-care and require surgical intervention.

JOI Can Help With Your Low Back Pain

If back pain is something that ails you and is showing no sign of improvement, you should follow up with a physician. As a patient, discuss with them if your symptoms could be resolved with physical therapy or if surgery is the next step. 

This article provided brief information about three common back surgeries that may be performed. Each surgery is dependent upon the patient and the type of injury. As research continues, other minimally invasive procedures are being discovered as well. As a patient, you should discuss in depth about your options with the physicians.  At the Jacksonville Orthopedic Institute, our spine surgeons meet often with our spine therapists for the best possible outcome. 

JOI has a dedicated Spine Team with Orthopedic Spine Specialists and Physical Therapists to help you get better.  If you want to learn more about low back pain, go to Low Back Pain. To schedule an appointment with an Orthopaedic Spine Specialist by Telemedicine or in person, please call JOI-2000, schedule online or click below. 


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