Overview of traditional open back surgery for arthritis of the spine

Traditional open back surgery, often referred to as open spine surgery, is a surgical approach used to treat spine conditions such as spinal arthritis, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, vertebral fractures and bone spurs. If you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the spine (osteoarthritis) or any other spine condition and your doctor has recommended that you undergo spine surgery, we encourage you to fully research all of your treatment options before consenting to traditional open back surgery.

We understand that the thought of spine surgery can be overwhelming, which is why we want you to know that there are safer and effective treatment alternatives to open spine surgery,^ such as minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute, which has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Read the following article or contact Laser Spine Institute today for more information about the advantages of our procedures and how we can treat spinal arthritis.

Risks of traditional open back surgery for spinal arthritis

While traditional open back surgery may have some benefits of pain relief, the highly invasive procedures used during the surgery often leave patients with an increased risk of excessive blood loss, infection, extended hospitalization and failed back surgery syndrome. During traditional back surgery, a long 6- to 8-inch incision is made through the muscles and other soft tissue in the neck, back, throat or abdomen to access the damaged part of the spine. Because this procedure does not use minimally invasive techniques, the muscles surrounding the spine must be carefully disconnected from their attachments to the spine and are cut laterally to allow the surgeon to access the spine.

After the surgery, the muscles are sewn back into approximate position as the incision is closed by the surgical team. Because of the highly invasive techniques used throughout the surgery, patients are required to stay multiple days in the hospital to recover from the procedure. This accrues additional hospital expenses beyond the cost of the surgery. Additionally, the recovery time following a traditional open back surgery is often difficult and long because the core muscles around the spine must rebuild and repair in order to help support the body.

Minimally invasive alternative to traditional spinal arthritis surgery

At Laser Spine Institute, our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures are used to help patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute offers less risk of infection and complication as well as a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine surgery.^

Unlike traditional open back surgery that requires a large incision and tears the surrounding muscles, our procedures are performed through a small, 1-inch incision and do not affect the muscles surrounding the spine. Through a no-cost MRI review*, our dedicated team can evaluate your condition to see if you are a candidate for one of our spinal arthritis procedures that can help you experience lasting relief.