Back Surgery: Pros and Cons
Back Surgery Pros and Cons continued...
Foraminotomy. The surgeon cuts away bone at the sides of your vertebrae to widen the space where nerves exit your spine. The extra room may relieve pressure on the nerves and ease your pain. Like a laminectomy, this procedure can also make your spine less stable. So the surgeon may do a spinal fusion at the same time. That’ll increase the amount of time you need for recovery.
Diskectomy. Sometimes a disk, the cushion that separates your vertebrae, can slip out of place, press on a spinal nerve, and cause back pain. In a diskectomy, the surgeon removes all or part of the disk. He may have to make a big cut in your back, or he may be able to do it through a small one. Sometimes it’s part of a larger surgery that includes laminectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion.
Disk replacement. A surgeon removes the damaged spinal disk and inserts an artificial one between your vertebrae. Unlike fusion, this lets you continue to move your spine. Recovery time may be shorter than for a spinal fusion, too. But there is a slight chance the new disk could slip or fall out of place and require repair.
Interlaminar implant. The surgeon implants a U-shaped device between two vertebrae in your lower back. It helps keep the space between them open and eases pressure on your spinal nerves. It can be done at the same time as a laminectomy. Unlike spinal fusion, the implant provides stability and lets you move your back almost like normal. You may not be able to bend backward as easily in that area.
The biggest risk of back surgery: Not knowing for sure if it’s going to help with your pain. The best thing you can do is talk openly with your surgeon so he knows what’s going on with your health and you know what to expect.