Back Pain

The Spine

The spine consists of multiple vertebrae stacked upon one another, each one separated by a cartilage disc (intervertebral disc). There are 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae. The spinal cord runs within the spine and nerves pass through each level of the vertebrae.

As we age, the intervertebral discs may thin or bulge out, causing pressure on nerves, resulting in pain, weakness, or numbness. Surgical options exist to help alleviate pain and improve function.

Cervical disc replacement

Cervical myelopathy is a condition where degenerative or bulging discs cause compression on the spinal cord, leading to neck pain, arm weakness, difficulty walking, and difficulty with fine motor skills.

Narrowing of the space between vertebrae may also cause pain.

Your surgeon may recommend a cervical disc replacement to treat your symptoms. The surgery is done through an incision on the front of the neck to visualise the front of the cervical spine. The affected disc is removed and replaced with a prosthesis.

The surgery takes approximately 2 hours.

What is the recovery time?

For the first two weeks after surgery, you should avoid any strenuous activity or lifting any objects heavier than 5 pounds. After 4-6 weeks, you may begin mild to moderate physical activity.

Anterior cervical disc fusion

Cervical myelopathy is a condition where degenerative or bulging discs cause compression on the spinal cord, leading to neck pain, arm weakness, difficulty walking, and difficulty with fine motor skills.

Anterior cervical decompression and fusion is a treatment for cervical myelopathy. Your surgeon will perform an incision on the front of your neck to view the front of the spine. The damaged disc(s) is/are removed and replaced with bone graft to fuse the affected joints. A plate is then fixed with screws on the front of the spine.

Symptoms often improve in the first few weeks after surgery, but a full recovery will take several months.

Range of motion may be diminished as a result of the surgery, but research has shown that the vast majority of patients have improvements in pain and function as a result of this surgery.

The surgery takes approximately 2 hours.

What is the recovery time?

For the first two weeks after surgery, you should avoid any strenuous activity or lifting any objects heavier than 5 pounds. After 4-6 weeks, you may begin mild to moderate physical activity.

Single level spinal decompression

The spinal cord runs within a bony canal in the spinal column. It is bordered by the vertebral bodies and discs in the front and the lamina in the back. With age, intervertebral discs or bone spurs may pinch the spinal cord or the nerves exiting the spinal column leading to pain and weakness.

A spinal decompression can be performed by removing the lamina to make space for the spinal cord and nerves.


Your surgeon may perform a discectomy if the cause of your symptoms is a bulging disc. The bulging disc is removed to alleviate the pressure on the nerves.

How long does the surgery take?

Approximately 2 hours.

What is the recovery time?

For the first two weeks, you should avoid any strenuous activity and avoid lifting any weight greater than 5 lbs. It takes 4-6 weeks to recover fully.

Spinal fusion

Aging and overuse may lead to degeneration of the spine with narrowed disc spaces, abnormal motion between vertebrae, and impingement of the nerves.

Spinal fusion is a procedure to permanently fuse two or more vertebrae to alleviate pain, correct a deformity, or stabilize the spine.

Spinal fusions are commonly performed in the cervical spine and the lumbar spine because these levels are the most mobile and most prone to injury and wear.

It is performed by creating an incision in the center of the back, over the affected levels of the spine. The damaged disc(s) is/are removed and bone graft is placed in the disc space to fuse the vertebrae. Screws are then inserted into the vertebrae and connected by rods to stabilize and realign the spine.

How long does the surgery take?

The duration of surgery depends on the number of levels fused.

What is the recovery time?

You should avoid any strenuous activity for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery. It may take several months for the vertebrae to fuse completely.

What limitations will I have?

Spinal fusion is performed when nonoperative treatments have been exhausted. It will result in a loss of some mobility, depending on the number of levels fused.

Back surgeries available
Type of procedure
Cost
Anterior Cervical Disc Fusion
0
Cervical Disc Replacement
0
Single Level Spinal Decompression/Discectomy
0
Spinal Fusion
0

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