Traditional open spine surgery for radiculopathy

Traditional surgery for radiculopathy usually involves a large incision, an overnight hospital stay, a long recovery time and a significant risk of infection and scarring. Surgery is usually seen as a last resort, however, because symptoms associated with radiculopathy can often be managed without the need for surgery. Conservative options including exercise, physical therapy, rest and pain medicine are generally the initial recommendation by doctors for patients who experience neck or back pain.

Spine conditions treated by surgery

In the past, patients whose chronic radiculopathy remained debilitating even after weeks or months of conservative treatment had no other recourse than to undergo traditional surgery for radiculopathy. Radiculopathy is a term describing symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness in the extremities that are the result of compression of a nerve root.

Spinal conditions that can cause chronic traveling pain in the back, neck and extremities include:

Traditional surgery for radiculopathy caused by these and other conditions is highly invasive, requiring a large incision that can sever important supporting muscles. Sometimes a large portion of the vertebral structure is removed in order to release pressure from a compressed nerve root. Vertebrae may need to be fused together using a metal rod and bone grafts to maintain the spine’s stability. Depending on the nature of the procedure and condition, recovery time can be long, sometimes taking as much as a year for patients to fully heal and return to regular activity.

A minimally invasive alternative

However, there is an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. Laser Spine Institute provides minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that uses state-of-the-art techniques that involves a shorter recovery period^ and less risk of complication than traditional open spine surgery. This is because our surgeons use a muscle-sparing less than 1-inch incision to access the spine and decompress the nerve that is causing symptoms. In severe cases, we also offer minimally invasive stabilization surgery as an alternative to traditional fusions, accomplishing the same goal through a small incision.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information and for a no-cost review of your MRI or CT scan* to help you find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.