Back Pain

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Minimally Invasive Surgery for Back Pain

When surgery is necessary for back pain or neck pain, the neurosurgeons at Weill Cornell Medicine take the least invasive approach possible. Our spine surgeons have developed expertise in some of the most advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques, which require only tiny incisions and often take less than an hour. This type of surgery causes less trauma than older surgical methods and requires much less time in the hospital.

Some of the surgeries we perform include:

Minimally invasive microdiscectomy: The goal of this technique is to remove the bulge from a herniated disc and relieve pressure of the affected nerve. The technique reduces the trauma associated with open surgery and allows patients a shorter recovery time, less postoperative pain and scarring and a faster return to normal activities. At Weill Cornell Medicine, 95 percent of patients who undergo this surgery for herniated disc experience complete relief of their pain. Learn more about surgery for herniated disc.

Laminectomy: One of the most common procedures for treating spinal stenosis and ankylosing spondylitis, it involves removal of the vertebra bone called the lamina, bone spurs and excess ligaments, thus reducing pressure on the nerve roots.

Minimally invasive lumbar fusion:This surgery fuses the bones of the spine in the lower back together so that there is no longer any motion between them. This reduces spinal pressure, pain, and nerve damage. In most patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion, metal titanium instrumentation is also used.This procedure is commonly used to treat spondylolisthesis and spinal compression fractures. The neurosurgeons at Weill Cornell Medicine are experts in an advanced procedure called transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), in which the surgeon fuses the affected vertebrae from behind. Bone grafts, spacers, and rods and screws stabilize the fused vertebrae. (More about TLIF.)

Vertebroplasty and Kyphoplasty: These advanced procedures help repair fractures and reduce pain by allowing neurosurgeons to reconstruct compressed vertebral bone, restore alignment, and remove pressure on a nerve. Learn more about vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty for spinal compression fractures.

Surgery for back pain is best performed at a major spine center with doctors trained and experienced in the most up-to-date minimally invasive techniques. Learn more about surgeons who treat back pain.

Reviewed by: Eric Elowitz, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: October 2016