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What Are the Most Common Types of Spinal Surgeries in the World?

Back pain can be debilitating and, in many cases, will require surgery. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most common types of spinal surgeries in the world and what they entail.

Spinal injury claims are on the rise in Great Britain. Around 10 million Brits suffer from some sort of back pain and many of these people require surgery; particularly when the pain is connected to a spinal injury.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common types of spinal surgeries in the world in 2022.

6 Most Common Spinal Surgeries in the World

1. Microdiscectomy

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One of the most common spinal surgeries performed throughout the world, this procedure is conducted by a surgeon wearing loupe style glasses which act as microscopes. This surgery is designed to help patients who are suffering from a bulging or herniated disc (the shock absorbers in between the vertebrae).

It is performed by removing the part of the disc which is pressing on a nerve. The procedure is conducted by making a small incision in the back or the patient’s side, and is relatively non-invasive. In most cases, patients are able to move around, go up and down stairs, and drive within a week of the surgery. Complications following this type of surgery are extremely rare and most patients will make a full recovery.

2. Disc replacement

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Around 200,000 patients receive disc replacement surgery every year to relieve pain from spinal cord compression or a trapped nerve. The procedure is done by removing affected spinal discs and replacing these with artificial versions which are not subject to the same wear and tear as natural ones. Recovery from disc replacement surgery will generally take around six weeks for most patients.

3. Spinal fusion

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A popular treatment for spinal fractures and compression of spinal nerves, spinal fusion surgery is a procedure in which two or more spinal vertebrae are permanently joined together and stabilised with screws. In some instances, a surgeon will also recommend that bone grafts are placed in between vertebrae to add more stability.

Spinal fusion surgery is a fairly major procedure and recovery from the surgery will usually take around three months. Patients will generally be advised to avoid strenuous activity such as sports during the recovery time.

4. Kyphoplasty

Those suffering from the bone condition osteoporosis will often experience spinal compression fractures which require surgery to fix. Kyphoplasty surgery is a procedure which involves injecting a type of medical balloon into the vertebrae, and then injecting a medical cement.

In most cases, kyphoplasty procedures are performed in an outpatient facility and patients will usually be allowed home after a few hours and will be expected to recover within a few days.

5. Laminectomy

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When spinal bones and/or discs slip and make contact with nerves, this can cause a significant amount of pain. Similarly, patients with osteoarthritis will often suffer complications such as bone spurs and slipped or ruptured discs. This can lead to severe pain in the back, neck, legs and arms.

A laminectomy is a surgical procedure which removes the pressure on the nerves by removing the lamina – a part of the back of the vertebrae – in order to expand the spinal canal. The operation is performed by making a small incision in the back or side, and recovery from a laminectomy can take between 6 and 12 weeks for most patients.

6. Anterior Cervical Discectomy and fusion (ACDF)

A trapped nerve of stenosis of the cervical spine can cause pain, weakness and a numb sensation in the back and arms which can be extremely debilitating. Surgeons are able to relieve these symptoms by performing ACDF surgery which involves removing a damaged disc and replacing it with a bone graft or spacer and a small surgical plate.

This type of surgery is extremely effective at relieving pain and preventing a decline in spinal cord decompression. Complications in this type of surgery are rare and most patients will recover fully within 12 weeks of the surgery.

Do I Need Back Surgery?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, millions of people around the world suffer from some kind of back pain. In many cases, this can be relieved through painkillers and deep heat treatments. However, if symptoms persist, you should always consult with your GP as, left untreated, some spinal injuries and conditions can cause long lasting health problems.

Failing to gain treatment or surgery for a spinal issue can also lead to dependence on painkillers for many people. Even if you are diagnosed with a spinal condition, you may not necessarily need surgery as your GP may, instead, prescribe a form of physical therapy.

In some patients, back pain is caused by factors such as using the wrong office chair or mattress. Symptoms can often be relieved through physiotherapy and by replacing these items with orthopedic versions which more fully support the back and spine.

Back on Track

In 2022, we’re lucky enough to live in a world which offers ever more sophisticated medical surgeries and treatments, including those for back pain. In most cases, spinal surgeries are effective, risk free and, in a lot of instances, have a recovery period of just a few weeks. This means patients can quickly recover and get on with their lives, including working, driving and taking part in sports.


Ricardo is a freelance writer specialized in politics. He is with foreignpolicyi.org from the beginning and helps it grow. Email: richardorland4[at]gmai.com