Back trauma is a fairly common occurrence and, unfortunately, totally non-invasive techniques may not provide the type of recovery you want or need. Thanks to technology, research and improved surgical training, though, there are now a number of minimally invasive surgical approaches that can provide relief:
- An anterior cervical discectomy—This procedure involves the removal of a herniated cervical disc through a small incision in the front of your neck. Surgeons will typically graft bone material in place of the disc, and may use implanted plates or screws to improve stability around the location of the removed disc
- An anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)—This is similar to the cervical discectomy, but involves an incision in the abdomen, rather than the neck. Typically, a spacer is inserted where the removed disc was located.
- An artificial cervical disc replacement—In this procedure, the disc is removed and replaced with an artificial one
- Minimally invasive surgery with a lateral approach—In this type of minimally invasive operation, surgeons enter the body cavity on the side, rather than the back, with typically fewer complications
- An endoscopic discectomy—This procedure is commonly used to remove a portion of a herniated disc, in order to alleviate pressure on spinal cord nerves. It uses a tiny camera, or endoscope, to guide the surgeon.
- Laser discectomy—This approach uses a small laser to remove some portion of a herniated disc
- Kyphoplasty—This technique is used to treat compression fractures in the spine, primarily those caused by osteoporosis. It involves the insertion of a tiny balloon into the vertebrae which is then injected with cement, which fills the fractured bone.
- Laminectomy—The lamina is a thin bony layer on the top of the spinal cord. To relieve pressure on the spinal cord, some portion of the lamina may be surgically removed.