Three Types of Back Surgery: Your Guide to Pain Relief

Nothing brings people together like back pain. 577 million people suffered from back pain at any one time during 2017. 

Back surgery is one option that can help you diminish your back pain. But not all back surgery types come alike. If you want surgery for your pain, you need to know what your options are. 

What is a popular surgery for the lower back? What can help when you have back and leg pain? How exactly do surgeons fuse vertebrae together? 

Answer these questions and you can go under the knife and come out with a better back. Here are three options for back surgery.

  1. Vertebroplasty

Vertebroplasty is a common type of lower back surgery. It occurs after someone experiences a fractured vertebra. Some doctors call it “vertebral augmentation” or “kyphoplasty.”

A surgeon will take bone cement and inject it into the cracks in the vertebra. As the vertebra heals, the cement will hold the pieces in place and allow nerves to repair themselves.

Vertebroplasty is not a form of back fusion surgery. It fuses parts of a vertebra together, but it does not fuse vertebrae together. 

Back surgery recovery may be extensive. Bone cement may leak outside the vertebra, causing bleeding and numbness. Surgeons use X-rays in order to determine where to inject the cement.

  1. Discectomy

Discectomy is a rare form of lower back surgery. It occurs when a spinal disc presses against the nerves or spinal cord itself. 

Surgeons will remove the spinal disc in order to relieve pressure. Someone may receive anesthesia that causes them to go to sleep, making discectomy an inpatient procedure. 

But the procedure can relieve significant back and leg pain. Doctors encourage people who receive the surgery to walk as much as possible to reduce muscle scarring. This can cause some initial pain, but it builds muscles and prevents pain in the long term.

  1. Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion fuses two or more vertebrae together. This sounds extreme, but it can help someone with scoliosis or weakness in their spinal cord. 

A surgeon can attach a metal plate against the targeted vertebrae. They can also screw vertebrae together, letting them form a unit inside the spine. 

Spinal fusion is an inpatient procedure that requires general anesthesia. It is safe, but complications can include infections and extensive bleeding. 

Surgeons may perform two of these types of surgeries at once. It may be necessary to remove a spinal disc while fusing a few vertebrae together. This can keep the rest of the spine straight and allow nerves to attach together.

The Many Types of Back Surgery

Back surgery can diminish your back pain. If you break a vertebra, you can try vertebroplasty. Make sure you get an X-ray so your surgeon knows where to perform the procedure.

Discectomy works if you have a misaligned disc. It is most helpful for people with limited mobility in their legs. 

Spinal fusion requires hospitalization. But it corrects defects in the spine and keeps vertebrae straight. Consider having multiple surgeries to fix all of your problems. 

Yet you should remember that surgery is one option you have. Read more back pain relief guides by following our coverage.