Spinal Surgery: An Introduction

The spine is an important part of an individual's physical structure. It houses a system of nerves that carry signals from the brain to other parts of the body, supports your skeletal structure, and is the mechanism by which you move your body from place to place. That is why it is important to seek a doctor who specialises in back health when you or a loved one experiences tingling, numbness, pain or other symptoms. This article provides an introduction to spinal surgery.

What to look for in a surgeon

A good surgeon is prepared and professional, has a strong commitment to their patient, and is committed to learning new approaches and techniques while maintaining integrity of excellence in their field. A great surgeon is also an excellent communicator who will spend as much time as necessary explaining their procedure and options, as well as answering questions and potential concerns.

Types of surgery


Microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves making an incision in the low back to remove a herniated disk. It is used to relieve nerve pain, such as sciatica. Sciatica is a condition that causes pain in the lower back. When one of the spinal nerves become trapped by herniated lumbar discs, it can cause pain in the legs, which are interpreted as being the source of the pain.


For patients with lower back pain or degenerative disc disease, doctors may recommend undergoing laminectomy. During a laminectomy, the surgeon will remove the outer portion of some of the vertebra that forms your spine. If the spinal cord or nerves are pressing against a vertebra, the pressure can cause pain or numbness so removal of some of the bone can help to reduce the level of pain by reducing the amount of pressure within the bone structure.

Spinal fusion

The surgeon will work to join or fuse several vertebrae so they form a single piece of bone. Other pieces of bones and some healthy bone graft (often from one's own bones) are used to connect the individual vertebrae. This type of operation can help to stabilise the spine and is typically used when the spine is misaligned and needs to be corrected.

If you are interested in finding out more, you should contact a medical professional or clinic that offers spine surgery. Your doctor may also be able to refer you to a spinal surgeon.