Surgical Treatment Options for Back and Spine Pain

Before the decision is made for spine surgery, your surgeon may do a variety of tests to help rule out other conditions that may produce similar symptoms (e.g., X-ray, MRI, CAT scan, myelogram, physical exam and a complete health history and assessment). Once the doctor has confirmed your diagnosis, they will talk to you about the various treatments available beginning with non-invasive, conservative options, including:

Spinal Implants and Devices

Artificial Discs are designed to replace intervertebral discs damaged by spinal disorders such as degenerative disc disease. Artificial discs replace the entire intervertebral disc and are designed to allow movement by mimicking the properties of a human disc. There are many different artificial disc designs. Implant composition includes hard (metal) and soft (nonmetal) materials, or sometimes a combination of both hard and soft.

Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP)

Bone Morphogenetic Protein, a naturally occurring human protein, is used in spinal fusion procedures. BMP stimulates growth of new bone and is a safe and effective alternative to bone graft. By using BMP as an alternative to bone graft, it shortens the amount of surgical time, reduces complication rates and allows for a quicker and less painful recovery time.

Spinal Fusion with Instrumentation

Spinal fusion permanently fuses or joins two or more vertebrae and is performed in cases where the surgeons need to correct a spinal deformity, treat a fracture or spondylolisthesis or stabilize the spine after discectomy. Instrumentation includes implants such as rods, plates, screws, interbody devices, cages and hooks. Implanted instrumentation immediately stabilizes the spine after surgery, adding strength and helps to maintain proper alignment while fusion occurs.

Common surgical procedures that involve spinal fusion and instrumentation include:

  • Anterior Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)


Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical treatment commonly used to treat compression fractures in the spine. Kyphoplasty involves inflating a balloon at the site of the fracture and then immediately filling the cavity created by this balloon with quick-setting cement. The cement hardens and repairs the fracture and stabilizes and strengthens the vertebral body. Vertebral body height is restored and pain is relieved.


The X-Stop is a minimally invasive surgical procedure designed to alleviate painful spinal conditions. The device is inserted into the back of the spine to keep the space between the spinous processes open, so that when standing, the nerves in the back will not be pinched or cause pain.