How does surgery treat degenerative spinal diseases?

Surgery is one approach used to treat some types of degenerative spinal diseases. Most treatment starts with a conservative, non-surgical approach. In cases where conservative treatment does not relieve pain after six months, surgery may be an appropriate next step. The goal of any spinal surgery is to reduce pain and improve range of motion. The type of surgical technique used depends on the type and severity of the degenerative spinal disease. For example, if you suffer from spinal stenosis, your surgeon may fuse two or more vertebral bones together to decrease undesired movement between the vertebrae. In other cases, such as a herniated disk, your surgeon may remove all or part of the disk.

Decompression is the main technique used during spinal surgery for degenerative disease. It involves removing bone spurs or overgrown ligaments from nearby nerves or the spinal cord to relieve pressure. The most common procedure in spine surgery is laminectomy. During a laminectomy, a bony structure (lamina) in the area of the affected spine is removed to create move space for the spinal cord and nerves. If you have improper spinal alignment or instability, this decompression procedure may be combined with a spinal fusion. A spinal fusion joins two or more parts of the spine to prevent abnormal movement, restore normal alignment, and prevent further degenerative changes in that spine area.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.