by Wood D

Animation Movie Available Related Media: Laminectomy

Surgery may be needed for back pain caused by problems like herniated disc , spinal stenosis , or spondylolisthesis . Rarely, it may need to be done right away to treat severe problems like a tumor.

The two surgeries that are done to treat a herniated disc are laminectomy (with or without spinal fusion ) and discectomy . Spinal decompression may be done to treat spinal stenosis. Spondylolisthesis is treated either with a fusion or with a fusion and a decompression.

Laminectomy (Spinal Decompression)

This surgery removes parts of the lamina. This is the small part of a vertebra that is over a spinal nerve that is being pinched. It is removed to ease pressure on the nerve. Along with bone, pieces of a ruptured disc also may be removed.

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion joins two bones in the spine together to ease pain caused by movement. The bones are joined together with bone from the person or a bone donor bank. Things like metal rods and pins may be used to keep the spine from moving. Fusing happens as new bone grows between the fusion during healing. This may take 3 to 6 months or longer.

It is not usually done on people who have had a laminectomy and disc removal.


Discectomy removes a protruding disc and part of the backbone. A small part of the bone is removed to access the disc. The disc is then removed to take pressure off the nerve. Sometimes, a microdiscetomy is done. It uses smaller cuts and tools to remove the disc.

Disc Replacement

In some people, a total disc replacement may be done to treat a degenerated disc instead of a spinal fusion. An artificial disc is used to replace the damaged disc. It does not keep the spine from moving, unlike with spinal fusion. It may not be an option for people who have many damaged discs or those who have had prior back surgeries.

Radiofrequency Denervation

Radiofrequency denervation treats the nerves to stop them from sending pain messages to the body. A needle is placed in the nerve that is connected to a damaged joint. An anesthetic is injected. Then, the needle is heated to damage the nerve so it stops sending pain signals.

Intra-articular Steroid Injections

An intra-articular steroid injection is a steroid medicine that is injected into the joint space of a vertebrae to ease pain.


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Sciatica. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2022.

Sciatica. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed May 5, 2022.

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