Open Back Surgery



While minimally invasive surgery certainly is the best choice to make if at all possible, unfortunately not all surgeries can be performed this way. There are still surgeries that require more than an inch incision to be able to achieve the proper goal.

With traditional open back surgery, incisions are often at least 5-6 inches in length and sometimes the surgeon needs to cut into the muscles to be able to see properly and move them out of the way. This type of Surgery requires the use of general anesthesia, which can increase the risks involved; these surgeries also tend to take longer to heal.

Below are just two surgeries that are considered open back:

Spinal Fusion with implants and instrumentation
This surgery can be performed for a variety of reasons and it is a major operation; once your vertebrae have been fused together there is no turning back. During this procedure your surgeon will fuse together two or more vertebrae in your spine using a bone graft. The bone graft can be taken from the patient (most often from the hip) or it can come from a bone bank. Your surgeon may also use screws, rods and plates to help support the spine as it heals.

After surgery you will have less flexibly and range of motion in your back, this is normal now that you have vertebrae that are fused together. By following through with your rehabilitation, your therapist can teach you proper posture techniques, how to use your back now that it has limited range of motion. They will also help you strengthen the muscles in your lower back and abdominals to help provide more support for your spine (for more about curvature spine see kyphosis definition on

A laminectomy is another major operation. During a laminectomy your surgeon will remove the entire lamina or back side of your spine. This procedure will increase the spaces in the spine and reduce compression on the nerves, surrounding tissues, or the spinal cord. A laminectomy is performed for severe cases of spinal stenosis, fractures in the spine, massive herniated discs, or spondylolisthesis.

This surgery requires the detaching of the spinal muscles from the bone as well as removing ligaments that are connected to the vertebrae; because of this recovery times can be lengthily and you will have a fair amount of scar tissue to deal with.

There are many other types of surgery that require large incisions and longer recovery times but what type of surgery is best for you will depend on many different things. Things such as what is causing your chronic back pain, your age, your health, and even your lifestyle must be factored into the decision to have surgery. Also remember that surgery is never guaranteed to fix your problem; while some surgeries have high success rates it is never 100%. Make sure that this is the best option for you before moving forward as there is no way to go back once it’s done. The more often you have surgery the lower your chances are of restoring the functions in your back.