Enduring pain and suffering due to spine and back problems can be very debilitating. For many people, this type of pain can only be relieved by receiving treatment from an orthopedic surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon can perform an extensive range of different surgical procedures on different areas of the body. These are some of the most common types of spinal procedures an orthopedic surgeon performs.
Discectomies are commonly performed to remove herniated discs that are pressing on the nerves or spinal canal. If this type of spinal problem is not corrected it can lead to a variety of different neurological issues including permanent paralysis.
Discectomies are performed by removing the herniated discs, replacing them with prosthetic discs and attaching them to the spine to ensure they remain in place and no longer move into position to press on the spinal canal or nerves.
The lamina is a part of the vertebrae that forms the arch in the spine. Sometimes this piece of bone can also put pressure on the nerves and spinal canal and cause pain, numbness, or problems with mobility.
When a laminectomy is performed, part of the lamina is removed to stop the bone from pressing on the spinal canal or nerves. This procedure is often performed when other less invasive procedures have failed to correct the problem. If the patient also has bone spurs growing on the spine, these may be removed during a laminectomy.
Spinal Decompression and Fusion
This procedure is done to take pressure off the nerves and spinal canal and to strengthen the spine by holding it in position. Spinal decompression and fusion is a common procedure that orthopedic surgeons perform in the United States.
First, the pressure is removed by trimming the bony section away from the nerve or the spinal canal it has been compressing. Then surgical hardware is attached to the bony elements of the spine to make the spine better stabilized.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a procedure that is performed on the neck area of the spine. This procedure is also very commonly performed by orthopedic surgeons in the US. However, this procedure differs from other spinal surgeries because it is done by going through the front of the spine instead of the back of the spine.
This procedure is performed when a disc in the cervical vertebrae is pinched against a nerve or the spinal cord. That disc is removed and then replaced by a prosthetic spacer that maintains the proper space between the vertebrae. Fusion is done by using surgical screws to attach the spacer to the spine which also stabilizes the spine.
The main purposes of spinal surgery are to decompress the nerves or spinal canal (or both) and to ensure the spine remains stabilized. This also relieves the pain of the patient and allows mobility to be maintained.