What is back surgery?

When non-surgical treatments like physical therapy and medication don’t bring relief, your doctor may recommend surgery based on your specific back issues. Doctors perform nearly half a million low-back surgeries every year in the US.1 Lumbar surgery has a long history: the first lumbar surgery was performed nearly 200 years ago.2 Depending on your particular diagnosis, your doctor may recommend stabilizing or replacing vertebrae or vertebral structures that have become unstable through an injury, disease, or wear and tear that occurs as you age.

Common types of back surgery


A type of spine surgery that is performed through a small incision in the lower back to remove a portion of a degenerated or herniated intervertebral disc.

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Laminectomy and fusion

A type of spine surgery that is performed through an incision made on the mid- to lower back and involves the removal of bone, placement of implants and spinal fusion. *

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Lumbar interbody fusion

A type of spine surgery that can be done from a front, side, or back approach and involves removal of the degenerated disc material, placement of implants and spinal fusion.*

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Scoliosis correction

A type of spine surgery that is performed by removing bone to help restore flexibility to the spine and allow for correction of the curve, as well as adding implants to help provide stability to the spine.

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Vertebral body replacement

A type of spine surgery that is performed from either the side or the back of the spine and involves removal of damaged vertebral structures and placement of implants to help provide stability to the spine.

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In general, surgical treatment options presented by your surgeon are aimed at relieving pressure on nerve roots in an attempt to address pain.

*The placement of these implants is intended to assist in a healing process called spinal fusion. If successful, spinal fusion will typically take place in the weeks and months following surgery, and can be assessed by your surgeon on imaging studies (e.g. x-rays) taken during follow up visits.

  1. Spinal Implants. Medtech 360. Market Insights. US. 2021. Millennium Research Group, Inc.
  2. Oppenheimer JH, DeCastro I, McDonnell E. Minimally invasive spine technology and minimally invasive spine surgery: a historical review. Neurosurg Focus. 2009;27(3):1-15.
Important information


Some of the images on this website depict Stryker’s products. Please speak to your doctor if you have questions about these products or anything else in this website.

The information presented is for educational purposes only. Stryker is not dispensing medical advice. Please speak to your doctor to decide if spinal surgery is right for you. Only your doctor can make the medical judgment regarding which products and treatments are right for your own individual condition.

As with any surgery, spinal surgery carries certain risks. Your surgeon will explain all the possible complications of the surgery, as well as side effects. Each spinal surgery patient will experience a different post-operative activity level, depending on his/her own individual clinical factors. Your doctor will help counsel about how to best maintain your activities in order to recover properly from your surgery. Such activities include not engaging in high-impact activities that could de-stabilize any instrumentation that may have been implanted.

Stryker Corporation or its divisions or other corporate affiliated entities own, use or have applied for the following trademarks or service marks: Stryker. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners or holders.

Ask your doctor if spine surgery is right for you.


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