Spinal fusion surgery — overview and alternatives to spinal fusion

Patients recommended for a spinal fusion to treat chronic neck or back pain might be feeling overwhelmed and slightly helpless at the daunting thought of undergoing a spinal fusion surgery. Spinal fusion has become a “last resort” treatment for many patients suffering from debilitating neck and back pain. Over the years, treatments like traditional open back fusion have painted a negative picture of spine surgery that is often associated with pain, risk and long recovery periods.

At Laser Spine Institute, we understand the fear that is associated with spinal fusion surgery. Our surgeons saw the risks and complications associated with traditional open back fusion. They knew that patients deserved better, safer treatment options to relieve chronic neck and back pain and regain their quality of life. Our minimally invasive stabilization surgery offers a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back fusion. Our precise, effective surgery methods have named us the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Every year, more patients come to us for neck and back pain relief than to any other surgery center in the world.

If you have been recommended for spinal fusion surgery, we encourage you to reach out to our care team. Our goal is to provide patient-centered care, which means you will be informed and educated about your spine condition and the treatment options available to you — all of the treatment options available to you. We believe that each patient deserves to have a comprehensive knowledge of their spine condition so you can make the best decision about the treatment plan that fits your needs.

A safer, more effective alternative to traditional spinal fusion

For years, patients only had one option for spinal fusion surgery: traditional open back fusion. During a traditional open back fusion, the surgeon makes a large incision down the back, usually about 6 to 10 inches in length. The muscles and small tissues surrounding the spine are cut and torn in an effort to reach the spine.

This is one of the major differences between traditional spine fusion and our minimally invasive stabilization surgery. The muscles surrounding the spine are meant to help support the body weight and stabilize the spine; by cutting these muscles, patients experience a longer recovery time to let the muscles repair themselves before the patient can resume normal activity. Cutting the muscles also puts the patient at risk because the spine is not receiving adequate support during the recovery period because the muscles cannot bear any weight from the body, meaning the spine is now solely supporting the body’s weight and movements.

Once the spine is accessed, the surgeon will remove the diseased portion of the spine, usually a disc or joint, and replace it with an implant that is fused to the two surrounding vertebrae to stabilize the spine. The recovery period for a traditional open back fusion normally ranges from six months to a year, depending on the length of time the muscles around the spine take to fully rebuild and recover.

During our minimally invasive stabilization surgery, the surgeon will make a small incision in the neck or back. The surrounding muscles and soft tissue will be moved aside, undisturbed, to access the spine. Using precision techniques and tools, the surgeon will remove the infected area of the spine and replace it with a small implant, which is fused to the surrounding vertebrae for stabilization.

The standard recovery time for our minimally invasive stabilization surgery is three months, and patients can return to work and modified daily activities within six weeks of surgery.

The minimally invasive stabilization surgeries we perform at Laser Spine Institute include:

The type of surgery you receive will be determined by your spine condition and medical history. A surgeon will review your MRI or CT scan prior to scheduling your surgery to determine your candidacy for one of our procedures.

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute

At Laser Spine Institute, we are honored to be named the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Our patients experience the difference in our services the moment they step through the doors. We are committed to patient-centered care, which means you will be provided with the best care and service in a compassionate and comfortable environment.

We are pleased to announce that our patient satisfaction rate is at 96, with a patient recommendation rate of 97 out of 100. Some additional advantages of Laser Spine Institute include:

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute's minimally invasive spine surgery:

  • No lengthy recovery^
  • Patient satisfaction score of 96^
  • Board-certified surgeons+
  • Less than 1-inch incision
  • Outpatient procedure
  • 97 out of 100 patient recommendation rate^

If you would like more information about Laser Spine Institute and the minimally invasive stabilization surgery we offer, please contact our care team. We are here to help inform you and guide you to the best treatment option for your needs. We’ve helped over 75,000 patients find relief from neck and back pain, and we are confident that we can help you reclaim your life from chronic pain.