Understanding How Spine Surgery Works

Around 650.000 to 700.000 spine surgeries are performed each year with a success rate higher than 50%. Spinal disorders are pretty common, especially the ones that involve low back pain, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis. Most of the time the patients notice satisfying results using non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, but in other cases, the problem is more serious and surgery is the only option. If you are considering getting a spine surgery from a spine.MD professional, keep reading because we are going to explain how the most common spine surgeries work.

Spinal Fusion Surgery

It is a surgery that eliminates motion between vertebrae while preventing the stretching of nerves as well as surrounding ligaments and muscles. This is an option to relieve symptoms of back problems where motion is the source of the pain, for example, scoliosis, infection, spinal stenosis, herniated disc, etc. This surgical procedure will take away some of your flexibility but since it involves small segments of the spine it will not limit your range of motion much. The spine.MD surgeon will use a type of bone material called a bone graft to promote fusion and stimulate bone healing. The fusion process will take some time, but your comfort level will improve faster.


This surgical procedure creates space by removing a section of bone from one of the vertebrae and enlarge the spinal canal to relieve pressure from the spinal cord or nerves. The pressure is caused by bony overgrowths that can narrow the space available for the spinal cord and nerves. It is the main option when medication and physical therapy failed to improve the condition, is recommended for back and leg pain due to arthritis or herniated disc. After going through this surgery most of the patients notice an improvement in their pain levels.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

This type of surgery uses small incisions and guides small instruments as well as video cameras through those incisions. One of the techniques involves using a tubular retractor that keeps the muscles out of the way without exposing the area widely. The benefits of this procedure include better cosmetic results, faster procedure, less recovery time, reduced risk of adverse effects such as muscle damage, infections, and less blood loss from the surgery. Some conditions that are treated using minimally invasive spine surgery are herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, spinal tumor, spinal infections, etc.