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What is Spine Surgery?

Spinal surgery is the subspecialty that uses surgery to restore the normal function of the spine when things go wrong due to trauma, disease, or other disorders. There are many ways that the spine can begin to hurt or lose the ability to move properly, and surgery is not always necessary. However, when surgery is needed, there’s no one more qualified for the job than a spine surgeon.

Spinal surgery can be considered a subspecialty of either orthopedics or neurosurgery. That means that a spine surgeon may take either path to this specific career, training first as either an orthopedist or a neurosurgeon. Orthopedics deals mainly with the structural issues of the back and spine: the bones, muscles, and joints. Neurosurgery deals mainly with issues of the brain, nerves, and spinal cord. So when choosing a spine surgeon, it is sometimes possible that your surgeon’s background will have a bearing on your particular diagnosis. However, in most cases, it doesn’t matter. Either an orthopedist-spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon-spine surgeon can handle the majority of spine surgeries. What is more important is that some spine surgeons specialize in specific areas of the spine, such as lumbar surgery or cervical surgery. In that case, it is important to connect with a surgeon who is experienced with your particular need.

Some of the surgeries performed on the spine include:
  • Correction of spinal deformities, such as scoliosis
  • Spinal fusion
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery, including decompression surgeries such as discectomy and laminectomy
  • Balloon kyphoplasty, a procedure done to repair compression fractures in vertebrae

The spine is a very complicated piece of your body’s machinery, and a very necessary part of your movement and function. It holds you up and allows you to move. Having a working spine is important, and having a skilled surgeon when you need spinal surgery is critical.