This section helps you understand the treatments that may be recommended for you.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion (ACDF)
ACDF is a procedure for the treatment of disc herniation or degeneration in the upper part of the spine known as the cervical (neck) area. Compression of nerves and disc degeneration results in neck, shoulder, upper back, and arm pain. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling and weakness in the arms or hands. The goal of an ACDF is to decompress the nerve root(s) and spinal cord, stabilize the neck, relieve symptoms, and enable the patient to return to his or her normal activities of daily living. ACDF is approximately a 1-3 hour procedure, depending on how many levels are treated. Average hospital stay is 24 hrs.
Posterior Lumbar Fusion
Posterior lumbar fusion surgery is performed for a variety of spinal conditions, such as spondylolisthesis, spinal deformity, stenosis, spinal fractures and degenerative disc disease. Spinal fusion is done most commonly in the lumbar region of the spine, but it is also used to treat cervical and thoracic problems. Spinal fusion is often necessary to correct deformity or stop excessive movement of the vertebrae. Degenerative conditions and abnormal curvature of the spinal column can also cause spinal instability, leading to premature wear and tear of the intervertebral joints and nerve compression. With spinal fusion, the surgeon ‘locks” two or more vertebrae together in an attempt to increase spinal stability and relieve pain. Fusion is a process that involves the insertion of stabilizing implants and bone grafts to “set” the bone, which occurs over a matter of months as the bones mend and grow together. Posterior lumbar fusion is approximately a 2-5 hour long surgery, depending on the number of spinal levels treated. Recovery time is dependent on a number of variables, but patients are usually discharged from the hospital after 2-5 days following surgery.
Microdiscectomy involves removing a small portion of the lamina, or bone overlying the nerve roots, followed by removal of the herniated portion of the disc. The goal is to relieve neural impingement and provide more room for the nerve. Disc degeneration, herniation and spinal stenosis are common spinal disorders that may compress spinal nerve roots and/or the spinal cord. Compression of these structures may result in back, hip and leg pain. In addition to pain, neurological symptoms may develop and include numbness, tingling, and weakness. Since almost all of the joints, ligaments and muscles are left intact, a microdiscectomy does not change the mechanical structure of the patient’s lower spine (lumbar spine). Many patients go home the same day as surgery.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally-invasive procedure for the treatment of vertebral compression fractures, commonly called spinal fractures, which are often times cause by osteoporosis, long-term use of corticosteroids or cancer. Spinal fractures cause the vertebral body to crack or collapse, altering the shape and height of the spinal column. Before minimally invasive surgery, the only treatment option for patients with spinal fractures was open surgery. Kyphoplasty is an innovative technique that can restore the vertebra to a near-normal shape, thereby maintaining spinal alignment. The procedure takes about thirty minutes for each vertebra involved. Pain relief may be immediate for some patients; in others, elimination or reduction of pain is reported within a few days.
Laminectomy is a spine operation to remove the portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina. Spinal stenosis is the single most common diagnosis leading to any type of spine surgery, and laminectomy is a basic part of its surgical treatment. During surgery, the lamina of the vertebra is removed or trimmed to widen the spinal canal and create more space for the spinal nerves and thecal sac. In the most minimal form of surgery, small skin incisions are made, muscles are pushed aside rather than cut and the parts of the vertebra adjacent to the lamina are left intact. The traditional form of laminectomy excises more than just the lamina; the entire posterior backbone is removed, along with underlying ligaments. Minimally-invasive laminotomy is a tissue-preserving surgery that leaves the muscles intact, spares the spinal process and takes only one or both lamina. The usual recovery period is very different depending on which type of laminectomy has been performed.