Most back problems are resolved without the need for surgery, but for some conditions back and spine surgery can help. Sutter Health network board-certified neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons offer the latest in advanced surgical procedures and techniques.
In patients with pain due to a degenerated or herniated disc, surgeries such as a microdiscectomy to remove part of the disc can help provide relief.
Spinal stenosis—a narrowing of the spinal canal due to arthritis, bone spurs or fractures—can cause pain, tingling and numbness. In these cases, surgeries such as laminoplasty, laminectomy, laminotomy and foraminotomy can relieve pressure from the nerves and/or spinal cord. In some cases, a corpectomy, removal of part or all of a vertebra, may also be involved. If necessary, the space left by the removed disc can be replaced with an implant or with bone. In some cases, you may need an arthrodesis (spinal fusion) to stabilize the spine by fusing the segments of bone together.
If you have spondylolisthesis, a vertebra in your spine has moved forward out of the proper position onto the bone below it. Most people get better with exercises that stretch and strengthen lower back muscles. But others may need a back brace, physical therapy, or even arthrodesis — a treatment in which your doctor stabilizes the spine by fusing the segments of bone together.
Scoliosis and Deformity Surgery
Some people with scoliosis and kyphosis may need surgery if the curvature of the spine is severe and progressive. Otherwise the curve may cause pain, neurological impairment and affect the function of some organs such as the lungs. Both minimally invasive scoliosis surgery and traditional scoliosis surgery can straighten the curve and create a stable spine using rods and screws.
Kyphosis, which is similar to scoliosis, is another type of abnormal curvature of the spine. It can produce a rounded or hunched back as well as pain and reduced mobility. Kyphosis correction surgery uses spinal implants to help straighten and stabilize the spine.
Tumor Resection and Removal
In rare cases, a tumor may cause pain in your back or legs as it presses against the nerves. In some cases, tumors may cause severe neurologic impairment, including numbness, weakness and bowel or bladder impairment. A surgeon may determine that surgery can remove the tumor safely to relieve symptoms and protect the spine.