Common Types of Spine Surgery

There are many different types of surgical techniques used to correct or repair the problems that you may have with your spine.  It is important that you are well informed about the surgical procedure planned.  Each surgery is different, and your surgeon will determine the best surgical procedure based on your symptoms.  The length of time required for spine surgeries varies, so it is best to ask your surgeon what to expect. 

Lumbar (Low Back) Laminectomy- A laminectomy involves removing bone from the vertebrae to allow more space for the nerves. By relieving pressure on the nerves, it can decrease symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain and weakness. Afterward, patients are typically in the hospital approximately 1 – 3 days.

Lumbar (Low Back) Discectomy- A discectomy is the removal of a piece of disc or the entire disc that is bulging or is herniated and putting pressure on nearby nerves. This pressure on the nerves can cause leg numbness, tingling, pain, or weakness. Eliminating the pressure can eliminate the symptoms. Afterward, patients typically go home the same day or the day after surgery.

Lumbar (Low Back) Fusion- A fusion stabilizes the vertebrae of the spine, which in turn stabilizes and protects the disc between. Bone is used to graft or link the vertebrae, and then rods and/or screws may be placed into the graft. Bone for the graft may come from the iliac crest (hip) or from a tissue bank. Afterward, patients are typically in the hospital approximately 1 – 3 days. 

Variations of Interbody Fusions- These are varied approaches to a traditional spinal fusion named for the direction from which the surgeon accesses the intervertebral disc space: using a surgical approach from the side, front or back. For example:

  • Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)


The disc is removed and replaced with an implant containing a bone graft to promote the two vertebrae fusing together through the disc space. These procedures cannot be used for all types of lumbar conditions for which spinal fusion is a treatment option.

Learn more about these surgeries by attending one of our free informational seminars.