Types of Lower Back Surgeries

Lower back pain is an increasingly common health problem around the world and afflicts both the young and old. Long hours spent sitting at the desk, lack of sufficient exercise and unhealthy habits are some of the common causes of this problem. However surgery is only considered as an option for treatment when other non-operative modalities like medication and physiotherapy don’t work and quality of life is being affected adversely.

Doctors usually recommend surgery after several months of conservative treatment methods fail to relieve lower back pain. There are different forms of back surgery and the doctor may recommend one of them depending upon the type of problem as well as the health and age of the patient. Below are some of the common types of lower back surgeries:

Discectomy

This type of spine surgery is used to treat herniated disc in the spine. A disc is a soft gelatinous pad that is present between the vertebral bones and helps in absorbing shock and preventing friction. Discectomy is also known as decompression surgery or herniated disc surgery. In some situations, the disc gets herniated inwards and starts pressing on spinal nerves and causing pain, numbness or balance issues. A discectomy can be performed on any part of the spine and can involve complete or partial removal of the disc.

Foraminotomy

This form of spine surgery involves the removal of tissues that are compressing nerves in the spinal column. During the surgery, a part of the vertebral bone that is constricting the nerves is excised. However, this may affect stability of the spine in some cases; hence a procedure called spinal fusion may also be carried out.

Laminectomy

This type of spine surgery is a form of decompression surgery and is one of the most widely recommended procedures for conditions arising due to spondylolisthesis and stenosis. Nerve compression could be due to bulging discs, bone spurs, overgrown joints or ligament tissue, etc. The surgery involves removal of the intruding bone to relieve pressure on the nerve. This type of surgery is usually combined with spine fusion surgery if instability is suspected.

Spine fusion

This form of surgery is meant to enhance stability of the spine in people with degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, stenosis or other problems with spine alignment. Two or more vertebrae are fused with a healthy bone graft and locked into place with hardware like rods or screws. Spinal fusion can correct spinal curve by about 50-70%.

There are other types of surgical procedures existing also such as vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty or spinal disc replacement to correct lower back issues too.

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