Surgery for Lower Back Pain

When surgery is necessary for low back 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 used for a herniated disc is to remove the bulge from a disc and relieve pressure of the affected nerve through a small portal such as a tubular retractor or endoscope. 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, it can involve removal of part of the vertebra bone called the lamina, some of the facet joints, bone spurs and excess ligaments, thus reducing pressure on the nerve roots. Neurosurgeons at Weill Cornell Medicine have expertise in minimally invasive laminectomy.

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. In most patients undergoing lumbar spinal fusion, metal titanium instrumentation is also used. This procedure is commonly used to treat spondylolisthesis and certain spinal 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. Learn more about TLIF.

Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty: These advanced procedures help repair fractures and reduce pain by allowing neurosurgeons to stabilize and reconstitute 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: Louis Chang, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: April 2021

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
  • Co-director, Weill Cornell Medicine CSF Leak Program
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Clinical Associate Professor of Neurosurgery
  • Attending Neurosurgeon
Phone: 888-922-2257
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 646-962-3388
  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
Phone: 866-426-7787 (Manhattan) / 646-967-2020 (Brooklyn)

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