A pedicle, which literally means small foot, is a small bony projection off the back of each vertebra. There are two pedicles per vertebra, one branching to the left and one branching to the right.

The vertebrae — which are the bones that make up the spinal column — are made up of a solid, oval-shaped vertebral body with growths arching off the back to protect the spinal cord. If you imagine the vertebral arch as a pair of arms wrapping around to protect the spinal cord to create the walls of the spinal column, the two pedicles and two laminae, or thin plates of bone, are what make up these arms.

The pedicles and common spine conditions

Pedicles are often mentioned in relation to spinal fusion, which is a procedure that combines two or more vertebrae in an attempt to relieve spinal pain by decompressing spinal nerves and stabilizing the affected the region. Fusion is required in situations where the removal of tissue required to open up nerve passageways would cause too much instability in the spinal column. This can be in severe cases of conditions such as the following:

Often, a spinal fusion surgery involves the use of screws and rods to attach the pedicles of consecutive vertebrae. For most causes of chronic neck or back pain, surgery is usually seen as a last resort because of the risks involved with traditional open spine procedures, including fusions. Traditional open neck or back surgery requires a large incision which severs the muscles, requiring hospitalization and long recuperation period to fully heal.

Laser Spine Institute

If you are researching the spine because you have been recommended surgery for neck or back pain, it is important to fully explore your options. Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery as an alternative to traditional open back procedures. Our patients enjoy a shorter recovery time^ because our surgeons use a muscle-sparing, less than 1-inch incision to access the spine and decompress nerves. For more severe conditions, we offer minimally invasive stabilization procedures that provide stability without the highly invasive nature of a traditional fusion.

Contact Laser Spine Institute for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery.