Open back surgery overview

Open back surgery has historically been the standard to treat herniated discs, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, foraminal stenosis and other neck and back problems. In recent years, however, minimally invasive procedures, like the surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute, have become a clinically appropriate alternative to open neck or back surgery.^

Both traditional open back surgery and minimally invasive surgery are usually seen as the last resort for addressing neck and back pain caused by a degenerative spine condition. Physicians will first try to treat most neck and back pain conservatively, such as through chiropractic care, hot and cold packs, physical therapy, pain medication and epidural steroid injections. Read on to learn about what you can expect from traditional open back surgery and the surgical outcomes of minimally invasive procedures.

What to expect during an open back surgery

A typical timeline for traditional open back surgery is as follows:

  • The team of surgeons makes a 6- to 8-inch incision on the neck, back, abdomen or throat to access the problematic area of the spine
  • Surgeons possibly have to cut through the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the spine
  • The surgeon addresses the problem by hand and stitches the patient shut, which may form scar tissue
  • The patient is hospitalized for two to five days of observation and is then is eventually discharged
  • Recovery can last anywhere from six months to a year and often it is difficult since the muscles surrounding the spine must rebuild and repair themselves to support the body

Clearly, this is major surgery, and the decision to have an open back procedure cannot be taken lightly.

An alternative to open back surgery

Meanwhile, the minimally invasive surgery offered at Laser Spine Institute, like a discectomy procedure, provides patients with a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ Our board-certified surgeons+ are able to treat back and neck conditions through a small incision, which results in less surgical blood loss as well as a reduced risk of infection and complication.^ Additionally, minimally invasive spine procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and reduce hospital-associated costs.^

Before undergoing traditional open back surgery, contact the dedicated team at Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the advantages of our spinal procedures. Not only do our procedures carry a shorter recovery time than traditional open back surgery, but 81 percent of our patients report returning to work within three months after surgery.^ Our minimally invasive procedures may be just the thing you need to find lasting relief from neck or back pain.

At Laser Spine Institute, we have helped more than 75,000 patients recapture their lives from chronic neck or back pain, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our procedures, reach out to us today and ask for a free MRI review.* We can help guide you on your journey to wellness.