Degenerative Disk Disease Surgery

Degenerative disc (disk) disease surgery can offer relief to people with severe back pain. At Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), our spine surgeons perform advanced surgical procedures, often using minimally invasive techniques.

If you have tried conservative treatments to treat degenerative disc disease but are still experiencing pain, numbness or immobility, degenerative disc disease surgery may be an option for you. Our spine surgeons work together to provide expert, advanced care.

We are leaders in navigated surgeries for spinal procedures, and we have the region’s only spine neuro-navigation system. This sophisticated system provides excellent views of the spine during surgery, so we can avoid sensitive areas and perform a safer and more precise procedure.

If surgery could offer you pain relief and improve your quality of life, we will discuss your options with you to determine the best way forward. Our goal is always to provide you with the safest, most effective procedure possible to provide relief for degenerative disk disease.

We perform some of these procedures using minimally invasive techniques. These techniques use smaller incisions and typically lead to shorter, easier recoveries. Other procedures we perform using traditional open techniques.

Degenerative disk disease surgeries we perform include:

Anterior lumbar fusion

We fuse (join) vertebrae, the bony sections of your spine, to ease pain in the lower back and leg. We typically access the lower back through an abdominal incision. You will most likely spend two to five days in the hospital after surgery.

Artificial disk replacement

Your surgeon removes the diseased disk and replaces it with an artificial disk. We can perform this surgery in the cervical spine (neck area) or lumbar spine (lower back). The disk is made of high-density plastic between two metal plates.

Advantages of this procedure include:

  • Improvement of neck and back pain
  • The spine maintains its natural flexibility and shock absorption.
  • You experience reduced back and neck pain.
  • The recovery time and hospital stay are shorter compared to other types of back surgery (approximately one day in the hospital).

Cervical fusion

  • This procedure fuses vertebrae to help reduce neck and arm pain. We typically access the vertebrae through an incision in the neck. Most often, patients need one day in the hospital after this procedure.

Posterior lumbar fusion

  • This fusion procedure helps ease pain in the lower back and neck. We access the spine through an incision in your back. You will most likely stay in the hospital for two to three days.

Spinal instrumentation

  • We may perform this surgery along with a spinal fusion. Some people who have a spinal fusion need implants in the spine to help steady it while the bone fuses. Your recovery depends on the type of fusion procedure we perform and the type of spinal implant you get.
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