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.

What our Patients Say

When business owner and consultant Dawn Pirthauer first came to the Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Comprehensive Spine Care, she thought her back pain would be a fairly straightforward case. Life intervened to make things unexpectedly complicated...
Ser una figura pública tiene sus ventajas y privilegios, y la periodista de investigación ganadora del Emmy Alicia Ortega siempre los había apreciado. Sin embargo, cuando necesitó una cirugía en la columna vertebral, descubrió que la fama...
There are perks and privileges that come with being a public figure, and Emmy award-winning investigative journalist Alicia Ortega had always appreciated them. But as she discovered when she needed spine surgery, fame has its down sides as well.
Alex Hornig, of Ridgefield, Connecticut, is no slouch. He’s a professional firefighter for the nearby Milford Fire Department as well as a flight paramedic for North Country Life Flight in Saranac Lake, New York, and a per diem paramedic with...
Before 2012 Dr. Jeff Linden was leading a glamorous life as one of the premier endodontists in New York City. A leading expert in his field, Jeff cared for his patients, mentored young dentistry residents at top teaching hospitals, and was often...
By Alfred Tosto I know I’m a pretty complicated case – I had a liver transplant in 2008 after being diagnosed with cancer and I take a basketful of drugs every day, immunosuppressants, prednisone, a lot of meds. But I’m a project manager and I treat...
A new 3D navigation system allowed Dr. Härtl to get Kathy back on her feet -- and back to her life -- in record time
Sara Kearns had always loved to travel, and she built her career around it. So when back pain interrupted her ability to travel, she knew she needed help. Dr. Hartl was there to get her back to her travels.
By Stefano Kaslowski Mountain climbing is a hobby I inherited first from my Grandmother Cici and later from my mother — they both grew up in Torino near the Alps. I was born in Italy but live now in Istanbul, in Turkey, and I have been trekking and...

Our Care Team

  • Hansen-MacDonald Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Director of Spinal Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2152
  • Assistant Professor of Radiology in Neurological Surgery (Manhattan and Queens)
Phone: 212-746-2821 (Manhattan) or 718-303-3739 (Queens)
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spinal Surgery
  • Co-Director, Spinal Deformity and Scoliosis Program
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NYP Lower Manhattan
Phone: 212-746-2260
  • Assistant Professor, Neurosurgery 
Phone: (888) 922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, Spine Surgery
Phone: 718-670-1837 (Queens) / 888-922-2257 (Manhattan)
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Orthopedic Surgeon
  • Director, Orthopedic Spine Surgery
Phone: 212-746-1164
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Attending Neurosurgeon
Phone: 888-922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388
  • Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
Phone: 718-780-5176
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 866-426-7787 (Manhattan) / 646-967-2020 (Brooklyn)

Reviewed by: Eric Elowitz, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: September 2020

Weill Cornell Medicine Brain & Spine Center 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787