Vertebrae Surgery

Things You Need To Know About Vertebrae Surgery

There are various types of vertebrae surgery and related procedures that are used to relieve harmful and painful symptoms and restore proper function.  The bones that all form together to create the spinal column are referred to as your vertebrae.  Together, they all constitute your upper body's main structural system and they provide your spinal cord with the vital protection that it needs.  For a large number of reasons, your vertebrae can intrude abnormally into your spinal canal or become damaged.  When this happens, vertebrae surgery is necessary.


Should your situation require your spinal canal to be widened so that your spinal cord can be relieved of stress, a laminectomy is performed.  This is most often performed alongside other types of related surgeries such as a spinal infusion.

During a laminectomy, your surgeon exposes targeted vertebrae and then part or all off your lamina is removed.  The lamina are segments found at the back of every vertebrae that work as a shield to the back of your spinal cord.  There is also a spiny portion of your vertebrae that is found between the lamina that is also removed.  The remaining segments of your vertebrae are then fused together so that they can provide the proper amount of support that your spine requires.


This type of vertebrae surgery is used when pressure needs to be relieved on the nerves that exit your spinal column.  The procedure is named after the natural opening in your vertebrae that is called the foramen which is where an important nerve runs through.

During a foraminotomy, the surgeon cuts or shaves away the foramen edges to offer the restricted nerve a larger channel.  This is sometimes performed alone or with another type of vertebrae surgery such as a spinal fusion or a laminectomy.  Any type of surgery is compatible when removing part or all of the vertebral disc cushioning.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is the most popular type of vertebrae surgery that is performed today.  It is used to correct a wide variety of conditions such as slippage or degeneration of the discs that work to cushion your vertebrae, direct injury to your vertebrae or other types of instability or spinal weaknesses.

During a spinal fusion, at least two vertebrae are fused together to limit any unwanted spinal motion.  When the surgery begins, the segment that is currently causing your difficulties in your spine is exposed.  This is done either by using conventional techniques or some type of newer and minimally invasive approach.

Then, your surgeon uses small bone sections that have either came from a donor or somewhere else on your body and they are then grafted between the affected vertebrae.  To allow the grafts adequate healing time, they are immobilized.  Some surgeons choose to use larger pieces of bone rather than small sections to promote quicker stability.  Alternatively, some surgeons use a suitable man-made material.



Every type of vertebrae surgery is considered a major operation.  You will be required to make a few preparations before your procedure.  If you happen to be a smoker, it is imperative that you quit, at least temporarily, so that your body is properly able to heal itself.  Also, if you take any medications that would hinder blood clotting such as aspirin, ibuprofen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, you will need to discontinue use two weeks prior to your vertebrae surgery.

Make sure that your doctor is aware if you drink large amounts of alcohol, have diabetes or heart disease.  Like any major operations, be sure that you are educated on both the benefits and the risks prior to the day of the procedure.