Spine Surgery | Spine | Loyola Medicine

Spine Surgery

Comprehensive and Advanced Surgical Treatments for Spine Problems and Trauma

Loyola Medicine’s spine surgery service offers comprehensive therapy and advanced surgical treatments for patients with spine problems and trauma. At Loyola, our spine surgeons are part of an integrated team of orthopaedic surgeons, neurosurgeons and neurologists, as well as pain management experts, radiologists, nurses, radiation oncologists, physical and occupational therapists and rehabilitation specialists.

Spine conditions treated include scoliosis and spinal curvature disorders, degenerative disk disease, spine tumors, and spinal stenosis. All areas of the spine are treated including the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions. Loyola offers a full range of spine surgery options (including minimally invasive surgeries and some procedures not available at other medical centers), including kyphoplasty, major deformity correction and cervical disk replacement.

Why Choose Loyola for Spine Surgery?

Loyola’s neurosurgical and orthopaedic spine surgeons are capable of a full range of surgical treatments, ranging from minimally invasive outpatient procedures to complex tumor resections and deformity correction procedures. Often, patients do not require surgery at all, and our pain management physicians can provide a spectrum of nonoperative treatments. Above all, our physicians understand that treatment must be tailored to the individual patient, to alleviate pain and restore quality of life. 

Patients with spinal deformities such as scoliosis and kyphosis benefit from state of the art individualized treatment planning. Our surgeons have been leaders in the consideration of how spinal deformities develop, and utilize the most modern techniques in an attempt to avoid future surgeries. In doing so, our surgeons have consistently reduced complication rates far lower than national standards. 

What Conditions are Treated with Spine Surgery?

Your Loyola doctor will discuss the option of spine surgery if you have serious pain, limited mobility or a life-threatening problem such as cancer. Surgery often is considered after more conservative efforts have failed. Some of the problems that can be corrected with spine surgery include:

Treatments for Spine Problems and Trauma

Loyola offers a full range of surgical options for patients with spinal disorders. These options include minimally invasive spine surgery and some procedures not available at other medical centers.

For some patients, minimally invasive spine surgery involves a smaller incision, shorter hospital stay, less risk of blood loss or complications, and a faster recovery time. For others, a different surgical approach may be best. Since our surgeons offer a wide range of operative treatments, they have the experience and judgment to tailor surgery to the individual patient. 

Spine surgery options available at Loyola:

  • Cervical (neck) disk replacement surgery (arthroplasty) — Removal of a cervical (neck) disk that may be pushing on the spinal nerves or spinal cord, followed by either fusion or disk replacement. If disk replacement is an option, patients may resume normal activities much sooner than those requiring fusion.
  • Decompression surgery — Relieving the symptoms of compression in the spine. The term refers to several types of surgery, but lumbar decompression surgery (in the lower back) is the most common.
  • Diskectomy or microdiskectomy — Removing all or part of one of the cushions that protect your spinal column; used when a disk herniates and puts pressure on the spinal cord or one of the nerves that come from it. This may be in the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid-back), or lumbar spine (low back).
  • Foraminotomy — Widening one of the openings in your spinal column where nerve roots leave the spinal canal.
  • Kyphoplasty — Using a balloon to inflate a section of a vertebra and fortifying it with cement. Used for spinal compression fractures.
  • Laminotomy/laminectomy — Removing all or part of the lamina, the rear part of the vertebrae (spinal bones).
  • Scoliosis and deformity surgery — If a patient has failed conservative (non-operative) treatment, corrective spinal surgery may be an option. The goals of surgery are to restore spinal balance and reduce pain by relieving nerve pressure (decompression). Corrected spinal alignment is maintained by fusing and stabilizing the spinal segments. When patients are carefully chosen and the operation carefully designed, excellent functional outcomes can be achieved that can provide positive life-changing experiences for the patient.
  • Spinal fusion — Also called arthrodesis, permanently joining together two or more vertebrae; often done after a procedure for spinal stenosis or after a diskectomy in the neck or low back.
  • Spine tumor surgery — Removal or stabilization of the spine affected by tumor or lesions in the spine. It often accompanies other treatments like chemotherapy or radiation therapy. This may refer to malignant or benign tumors.

What to Expect during Spine Surgery

At Loyola, your spinal surgery will take place in the hospital. Most procedures take a few hours to complete and depend on the complexity of your surgery. 

While no two patients will experience exactly the same recovery, some general expectations apply. You should be able to walk within a few hours to one day after the operation, and your care team will encourage you to do so. After some operations, you will be able to resume light work, driving, and physical activity within a couple of days; with larger procedures, this may take two weeks or longer. It is common to have some pain right after the operation, and your team will give you medication for this. 

Prior to the operation, your surgeon will review what you should expect after the operation, and the team will work with you before and after the operation to ensure the quickest and smoothest recovery possible. 

At Loyola, you will receive support as you heal and resume your normal activities; physical therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation and pain management specialists are available to help you in your recovery. They will give you instructions on how to take care of your back and prevent future problems. Learn more about orthopaedic rehabilitation and neurology rehabilitation.