Lumbar and Cervical Disk Disease Surgery

People seeking expert lumbar and cervical disk disease surgery turn to the spinal surgery experts at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). Our neurosurgeons perform advanced procedures to remove the herniated disk so you can feel better and move more easily.

Lumbar disk disease, or herniated disk, can cause severe back pain, sciatica and muscle weakness. Sometimes, surgery is necessary to relieve pain and other symptoms.

Cervical disk disease, or herniated disk, can cause severe neck pain, arm pain and muscle weakness. Sometimes, surgery is necessary to relieve pain and other symptoms.

Our neurosurgeons are experts in complex spinal procedures. In fact, LVHN has the region’s only spinal neuro-navigation system. This sophisticated technology provides detailed views of the spine during surgery, so we can protect sensitive areas and perform a safe and effective procedure.  

Surgery for lumbar disk disease typically involves removing the herniated part of the disk to relieve back pain. We use both minimally invasive and open surgical procedures, finding the surgical approach that will get you the best results. Procedures we provide 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. The artificial disk is made of high-density plastic between two metal plates.

We can perform this surgery in the cervical spine (neck area) or lumbar spine (lower back). Advantages of this procedure include:

  • Your spine maintaining its natural flexibility and shock absorption
  • Reduced back and neck pain
  • A shorter recovery time and hospital stay than with 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 patients need to stay in the hospital for one day after this procedure.

Cervical laminotomy

The lamina is part of the vertebral bone. During this procedure, your surgeon removes a small part of the lamina to relieve pressure on your nerves and alleviate neck pain. Most patients stay in the hospital two to three days to recover.

Lumbar microlaminotomy

We remove a small portion of the lamina using minimally invasive techniques. This surgery relieves pressure on your nerves, alleviating lower back pain. Most patients spend one to two days recovering in the hospital.


During a laminectomy, we remove part or all of the lamina to relieve pain. We can perform this as:

  • An open procedure (also known as a traditional laminectomy) using a large incision
  • A microlaminectomy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses tiny incisions

We will discuss which surgical approach will offer you the best results.

Diskectomy and microdiskectomy

This procedure removes the damaged disk. For a traditional, open diskectomy, we make a large incision through the back muscles to access and remove the disk.

A microdiskectomy is a minimally invasive procedure. It uses tiny incisions to remove portions of the damaged disk. At LVHN, our surgeons have been at the forefront of performing these minimally invasive spine surgeries.

After a microdiskectomy, patients are typically up and walking the same day as their surgery and back to their regular routine within two weeks.

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