Overview of lower back surgery types

There are two main types of lower back surgery used for the treatment of degenerative spine conditions: traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery.

These two approaches can both be used to stabilize the spine and relieve pressure placed on the spinal cord or nerve roots by bulging discs, herniated discs, calcified ligaments and other degenerative spine conditions. However, while these two procedures have the same goals, their approach is different. Understanding these differences can help you make a confident decision about the best treatment option for your needs.

Traditional open spine surgery

Traditional open spine surgery performed on the lower back is a highly invasive procedure that requires a large incision and muscle disruption to access the damaged area of the lumbar (lower) spine.

Once the spine is accessed, the surgeon will remove part of the damaged disc, joint or vertebra that is pressing against the nerve root and causing your pain. If a significant portion of the spine is removed, hardware such as a metal cage, rods and/or screws may be used along with bone graft material to stabilize the spine. Open lower back surgery and traditional open spine fusion is performed in a hospital and requires several days of hospitalization.

Minimally invasive spine procedures

Minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute offers several proven benefits over traditional open back surgery, making it a safer and effective alternative.^

Unlike the highly invasive nature of traditional open back surgery, the minimally invasive spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute is performed through a small incision, sometimes less than 1-inch in length. Instead of the cutting and detachment of the muscles surrounding the spine, our careful techniques allow the muscles to be pushed aside, causing less disruption. This allows our patients to experience a shorter recovery time and lower risk of complication^ compared to traditional open back surgery.

Once the spine is accessed, our surgeons can remove a small portion of the disc, vertebra or joint that is compressing the nerve root without compromising the stability of the spine. This is called a minimally invasive decompression surgery. For more severe lower back conditions, we may remove the entire damaged disc and replace it with bone graft material to help stabilize the spine. This is called a minimally invasive stabilization surgery. Through the use of muscle-sparing techniques, both of these types of procedures are performed on an outpatient basis.

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, and we have helped thousands of patients since 2005. Contact us to learn more.

Our team can help you receive a free MRI review* to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.