What is spinal surgery?

Spine surgery (or spinal surgery) concerns various back diseases affecting the spine’s bone structures and the spinal cord’s nerve pathways.

Which patients resort to spinal surgery?

Spinal surgery patients have either a congenital malformation or a back disease that developed over several years. Inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism or tumors damage the spine. Degenerative processes such as osteoarthritis of the vertebral joints or weakening of the intervertebral discs lead to back pain. With age, other disorders are added, such as bone fractures due to bone degradation (osteoporosis). There may also be surgical intervention when the structure of the back is damaged. Deformities of the spine (scoliosis) or herniated discs can also be reasons for surgery.


What are the symptoms of patients with back problems?

The most common back pain is in the lumbar spine. But neck pain (cervical spine) is also a reason to consult a spine surgeon. Tingling, muscle weakness, or even paralysis can occur in the upper or lower limbs when back pain is intense and acute.


What treatments are possible in spinal surgery?

The range of treatments is vast. The most frequently encountered in patients undergoing spinal surgery are:

  • herniated disc
  • scoliosis
  • vertebral slippage
  • spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)


Here are the surgical techniques used for the back:

  • Microsurgery: A microscope magnifies the different parts of the body during the operation.
  • Minimally invasive surgery: insertion of instruments through small incisions in the skin.
  • Open back surgery: For more complex procedures, the spine is cleared using a wide incision.
  • Risks: Since general anesthesia is necessary, blood circulation is more strongly affected.
  • Implantation of an artificial disc: replacement of the intervertebral disc with a prosthesis.
  • Vertebral stiffening: the column is stiffened on a given section using screws and metal plates.


Risks: Unlike open surgery, minimally invasive interventions only generate minor wounds. Therefore, postoperative pains are less significant, and the wounds heal more quickly. During surgical interventions on the spine, nerves surrounding bone structures or organs may be damaged in the intervention area. As with all operations, bleeding, healing problems, or infections can also occur.


Anesthesia: For back operations, complete narcoses are usually recommended.


Preparation for a spinal surgery treatment

Patients are admitted to the clinic the day before the operation and must be fasting for the procedure. Blood values and pressure are checked. The possible intake of drugs that thin the blood must be interrupted beforehand.


Postoperative follow-up in spinal surgery

The course of the surgery depends on the type of surgical intervention. Patients remain hospitalized for the first few days. After a short time, they can get up for the first time. After their stay in the hospital, patients go directly home or are transferred to a rehabilitation clinic. They must first take care of themselves. Rehabilitation can begin as soon as the wounds have healed, the primary goal being the resumption of regular physical activity.



Following spinal or spinal surgery, patients have the opportunity to stay in specialized hospitals for successful rehabilitation. The clinicians offer medical care as well as therapeutic management.


Frequently asked questions


When is it necessary to get spinal surgery?

Most back pain is treated without the need for surgery. Physiotherapy and pain management sessions usually provide relief to sufferers. But if a loss of sensitivity or even a feeling of paralysis appears, or there is a loss of bladder control, this is an emergency case that requires an immediate medical examination or a consultation in the hospital.


How is spinal surgery carried out?

The surgeon chooses the operative technique according to the pathology. He will opt for minimally invasive surgery; for small procedures; large interventions usually require an open operation.


How long should a person with spinal surgery stay in the clinic?

The length of stay in the clinic depends on the type of surgery and the individual healing process. Most patients stay in the clinic for no more than five days before returning home or being transferred to a rehabilitation center.



What to think about after spinal surgery?

It is forbidden to carry heavy loads during the first weeks. Physiotherapy exercises restore muscle function. Wound healing takes time. After about six months, the back can again be thoroughly strained.



Does the pain go away after spinal surgery?

Surgery is not guaranteeing a painless life. The surgeon first evaluates the pros and cons of surgery. Intervention is only wise if the chances of symptom improvement are real.