Lower back pain can bring your life to a halt by preventing you from doing the things you love. Lower back pain is a common ailment that doesn’t always need surgical treatment. However, if you do not respond well to nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications, you should consider surgery.
Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend one of the following surgical procedures.
Laminectomy, also known as decompression surgery, is done by removing the lamina, which covers the spinal canal. This procedure aims to alleviate the pressure on the spinal cord by giving it more space. Bone spurs, or overgrowths within the spinal canal, are the most common source of pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
This procedure is recommended when nonsurgical treatments are ineffective in relieving lower back pain. Patients experiencing bladder control problems or difficulty walking or standing due to nerve damage are also candidates for laminectomy. Make sure to discuss the procedure with your surgeon as it has a small risk of bleeding, infection, nerve injury, blood clots, and spinal fluid leakage to consider.
Lumbar Spine Fusion
Lumbar spine fusion is a procedure done by connecting parts of the spine. It aims to restrict the movement between the affected vertebrae, thus alleviating lower back pain brought about by instability and friction.
In this procedure, parts of the spine are not directly connected. Instead, the surgery makes use of a bone graft to promote the fusion. The bones grow together, usually over 6 to 12 months post-surgery.
Lumbar spine fusion is considered a major surgery. Depending on where the fusion happens, it can limit some movement after recovery.
Lumbar spine fusion is recommended for patients who have undergone at least 6 months of nonsurgical treatments without significant improvement to symptoms. This procedure may also be appropriate if a patient has extreme lower back pain that affects mobility and quality of life. Common candidates for this surgery are those with scoliosis and spondylolisthesis.
Discectomy, typically a minimally invasive procedure, alleviates lower back pain and inflammation of spinal nerves by a total or partial removal of a herniated disc.
When the procedure is minimally invasive, it is called a microdiscectomy. The incision your doctor makes during surgery is very small, around 1- to 1.5-inch in length only. This means minimal postoperative pain, faster recovery, and no hospital stay for you.
Depending on your overall health, you may be risk for some complications, such as blood clots, injury to nearby nerves, and excessive bleeding. Your surgeon will determine your risk level and take steps to lower it.
Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty
Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty are vertebral augmentation procedures that relieve pain caused by spinal compression fractures. These procedures are commonly performed on patients with osteoporosis and have very weak bones in the lower back.
Kyphoplasty is done by inflating a balloon-like apparatus in the fractured part of the spine to restore its normal height and alignment. The balloon is then removed before the surgeon injects the space with bone cement.
Vertebroplasty essentially involves the same procedure but without utilizing the balloon-like apparatus. Instead, bone cement is injected directly into the fractured vertebrae. It stabilizes the spine and alleviates lower back pain, however, unlike kyphoplasty, it does not restore your spine’s height.
Lower Back Surgery in Colorado
The abovementioned surgical procedures have alleviated lower back pain for many people. Determining the right procedure for you will first require an accurate diagnosis from a spine doctor.
At Front Range Spine and Neurosurgery, we offer advanced treatments for spinal and neurological conditions. At the core of our excellent services are our providers, who are well-respected neurosurgeons with many years of advanced training and experience.
Make an appointment by (303) 790-1800 or use our online form to schedule an appointment with us.