Talking to your back doctor about the option of spine surgery

The decision to undergo spine surgery for the treatment of chronic neck or back pain is a serious one that should not be taken lightly. Only about 10 percent of individuals who experience chronic discomfort caused by degenerative spine conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs, sciatica and spinal stenosis will ultimately require surgery to treat their symptoms.

If you currently have a back doctor who has diagnosed your condition, be sure to talk extensively with him or her about the necessity of surgery and whether all nonsurgical treatment options have been attempted. Before opting for an invasive open spine procedure, discuss options like corticosteroid injections, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, decompression therapy and analgesic pain patches with your back doctor.

Discussing types of surgeries with your back physician

Spine surgery will generally fall into one of two main categories: minimally invasive surgery and open spine surgery. The specific type of surgery that is best for you will depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Overall health
  • Type of spine condition
  • Exact location of spine condition
  • The severity of your spine condition
  • Medical history (ex. past spine surgeries)

A minimally invasive surgery offers an alternative to open spine surgery for patients with degenerative spine conditions like spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. These outpatient procedures are performed through a small incision, sparing the muscles from being cut or torn.

Laser Spine Institute offers both minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures. Our decompression procedures relieve pressure on the nerve root or spinal cord and include laminotomy, foraminotomy, and discectomy. Our stabilization procedures are the minimally invasive equivalent of a traditional open spinal fusion. The surgeon removes the affected disc and inserts an implant and/or bone graft to provide stability and relief from pain.

An open spine surgery, on the other hand, is a highly invasive procedure that may be better suited for patients with severe spine conditions or conditions that have structurally compromised the spine. Spinal fusion is the most common open spine surgery and may be accompanied by a discectomy, a laminectomy or an open spine foraminotomy.

Learn more from a back physician at Laser Spine Institute

If you are considering spine surgery and would like to learn more about your options for minimally invasive nerve decompression procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute to schedule your initial consultation and for your no-cost MRI review.* During your initial consultation, you can speak to one of our knowledgeable back physicians.