Understanding the Different Types of Spine Surgery

If you’re grappling with neck and back pain, all you want is relief. And if you’ve tried every conservative treatment with no luck, spine surgery may be the answer.

While the idea of someone operating on your spine sounds scary, spine surgery is a highly sophisticated field with specialized techniques that can resolve your pain safely. 

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons at Coastal Ortho in El Segundo and Torrance, California, offer several types of spine surgery. Here’s a closer look at each one. 


Microdiscectomy is a precise surgical technique that targets the root cause of your radiating leg pain — a herniated disc. It’s minimally invasive and delicately removes portions of the protruding disc to relieve the pressure and pain.

Microdiscectomy is ideal for specific types of disc herniations, and we usually recommend it when conservative treatments have failed. The hallmark signs that may qualify you for this procedure include persistent nerve pain, weakness, and numbness extending into your legs.

In addition to relieving severe sciatic nerve pain, microdiscectomy preserves your spinal stability post-surgery and has a relatively swift recovery timeline. 

Spinal stenosis decompression

Spinal stenosis narrows your spinal canal, clenching vital nerves and causing chronic neck or back pain that can disrupt your life and make you less active. Decompression surgery aims to restore lost space by removing overgrown bone and ligaments and liberating trapped nerves.

Lumbar fusion surgery

Another technique in our arsenal of spine surgeries is lumbar fusion — a welding process of sorts that unites and fortifies your vertebrae when chronic pain stems from spinal instability or deformity.

We may recommend lumbar fusion for conditions like degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis. Because lumbar fusion halts instability-related lower back pain, the key lies in identifying whether motion is the culprit behind your discomfort.

We use various techniques for lumbar fusion — through the front (anterior), back (posterior), side (lateral), or a combination — each approach is tailored to individual situations. Afterward, you can expect to participate in physical therapy to fortify your new, stable spine.

Adult scoliosis correction

Adult scoliosis is a complex condition that involves pain, postural changes, and an impact on daily living. Our Coastal Ortho surgical interventions aim to straighten and stabilize your spine while navigating the nuances of your rigid adult bones.

Scoliosis correction in adults differs from pediatric approaches because adult spines are less pliable. Our experienced specialists perform the correction surgery with precision, and restore balance and symmetry to your back.

Total disc replacement

Total disc replacement is a relatively new technique in spine surgery. Akin to joint replacement, it offers a synthetic solution with the goal of retained motion. With total disc replacement, we aim to restore normal spinal motion and avert adjacent segment degeneration. 

Cervical disc fusion

Neck pain that radiates to your shoulder and arm may indicate a degenerated cervical disc.

Cervical fusion melds together vertebrae and creates stability, a fundamental remedy for nerve root or spinal cord compression prompted by disc herniation or spondylosis.

The procedure often delivers immediate nerve relief, but your personal recovery timeline depends on your overall health and the complexity of the surgery. 

Choosing a spinal surgeon

Selecting the right spinal surgeon requires careful deliberation and informed judgment. When entrusting your well-being to a health care professional, it’s paramount to find a surgeon proficient in the latest surgical techniques who demonstrates a robust record of patient outcomes. Here’s what to consider:


Look for board certification to indicate your surgeon’s commitment to the highest standards of practice within the medical community. All Coastal Ortho surgeons are board certified.

Proficiency and experience

Your spine is the pillar of your physical structure and expertise matters. A surgeon with comprehensive experience — specifically in spinal surgeries, like our Coastal Ortho team — knows exactly how to adapt your procedure to your unique anatomy and health profile, optimizing your recovery. 

Relationship and trust

A harmonious doctor-patient relationship thrives on mutual trust and respect. Our empathetic surgeons listen to your concerns and explain complex procedures. Choose a surgeon who values your participation in the decision-making process and who is accessible to address any questions or concerns that may arise along the way.

A multidisciplinary team approach

Superlative spine care often involves a collaborative approach, leveraging the expertise of an array of specialists, from neurologists to pain management experts and physical therapists. Our exemplary spinal surgeons function within a multidisciplinary team, ensuring comprehensive care that extends beyond the operating room.

Hospital affiliation and resources

The hospital or medical center where your surgery will occur can greatly impact your experience. High-quality facilities that support advanced technologies and possess a dedicated spine unit indicate a conducive environment for specialized spinal care. 

Coastal Ortho partners with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, ranked No. 1 in California on U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” list for eight consecutive years. If you’re considering spine surgery, trust our experts — call Coastal Ortho today.