In people who have not responded to less invasive treatment, who have an identifiable structural abnormality that can be effectively corrected, or who have chronic severe pain, nerve damage, and loss of bladder and bowel control, doctors consider neck or back surgery. Common surgical procedures for neck and back pain include:
- Microdiscectomy: In some people a herniated disc can be surgically repaired to restore the normal anatomic structure.
- Discectomy or laminectomy: In these procedures the disc that is causing pain or the bone placing pressure on the spinal cord is removed.
- Spinal fusion: In this procedure surgeons stabilize the vertebrae using metallic devices and bone from another part of the body, a bone bank, or artificial bone.
Surgical innovations include:
- Minimally invasive spinal surgery: Many spinal procedures can be performed with less injury to muscle, ligaments, and bone with equal or even better outcomes.
- Computer navigation for spine surgery: Advancements in intraoperative imaging and navigation systems make spine surgery safer.
- Artificial disc implantation: Artificial discs are designed to provide support for the vertebrae while permitting a range of motion.