Spine Surgery Procedures

surgical procedures - dr paul bannan


This is a relatively simple operation that is used to remove part of a lumbar disc that has prolapsed (sometimes called a herniated disc).  The prolapsed disc can cause pressure on a nerve which results in leg pain.  Removing this disc fragment and releasing pressure on the nerve is a very effective way to relieve leg pain.

It should be noted that there is about a 10% chance of the disc prolapsing again.  If this occurs on more than one occasion it is likely that you will be offered a lumbar fusion operation to stabilise this section of your spine.


spine surgery procedures
Nerves in the spinal canal can be compressed by bone overgrowth which is usually a result of osteoarthritis, or degeneration of the spine, with age.  Laminectomy is a procedure to remove this excess bone, thereby decompressing the nerves in the spinal canal and relieving leg pain.

Artificial Disc

This procedure is used to replace a worn or damaged disc in the spine with a prosthetic or artificial disc. Because the artificial disc attempts to closely replicate the movement of the natural disc, spinal mobility is better after this procedure, compared to a fusion. However, it is not suitable for all patients and you will be advised what procedure will be best for your individual problem. 


Anterior Cervical Fusion

In this procedure, the degenerate disc is removed and a "cage" with bone graft or bone substitute is inserted into the disc space. A plate fixed with small screws is placed over the cage to complete a stable construct.


Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is an operation used to stabilise a section of spine by permanently joining two or more vertebrae using a combination of bone and implants (screws, rods and “cages” between the vertebrae).

This procedure may be recommended if you have back pain, with or without leg pain, as a result of degeneration of the spine or repeated prolapse of a disc.  During the operation, overgrown bone is removed, along with any degenerate disc and ligament.  This will decompress the spinal canal and relieve any pressure on the nerves that is causing leg pain.  By fusing the affected vertebrae, the spine is stabilised relieving back pain.

There are a number of ways to perform this operation. In the neck, the approach is usually from the front, but in the lumbar spine the approach can be either from the back, the front or the side.  The decision about which type of approach is made after careful consideration of your individual problem.