While minimally invasive spine surgery would be ideal for all back surgeries, conventional spine surgery (or open back surgery) may become the recommended course of treatment when a condition has become severe and conservative therapies have not worked.

Open back surgery constitutes a major operation, requiring large incisions and a longer recovery period; therefore, it should be considered only as a last option. For the recovery period of an open back surgery, it is best for patients to prepare and schedule the following weeks or months after the surgery to accommodate. While your doctor will normally prescribe something like pain medication and some form of physical therapy to help with the possible pain after the surgery, having a support system such as a friend or family member on call can help with the recovery process.

Although an open back surgery may come across as intimidating at first, the possible benefits that come out of it may help you decide whether it is the right option for you or not. Normally, patients find that they can move around better, are able to go back to work, are more physically fit, and are in a better mood after a successful open back surgery. Much like with minimally invasive spine surgery, conventional spine surgery comes in several types, the most common surgeries being spinal fusion and laminectomy.

In a spinal fusion for a conventional spine surgery, the doctor joins vertebrae together. While this can limit the motion in that area of the spine, it’s likely it won’t limit your daily activities. Laminectomies, on the other hand, are when the doctor removes bone spurs that are in your back. Bone spurs can be best thought of as growths on your bones that put pressure on your nerves. Removing them will relieve that pressure, which can help relieve the pain you may be experiencing. However, this removal can also make your spine less stable. Sometimes, a conventional spine surgery requires both a laminectomy and a spinal fusion. It is important to note that while these are the most common options for conventional spine surgery, they are not the only options.

Renowned for his surgical prowess in conventional spine procedures, Dr. Cohen is a world-class spinal surgeon and specializes in cervical spine fusion, lumbar interbody fusion, posterior pedicle screw fusion and dynamic posterior stabilization fusion. In treating patients, he exhausts all minimally invasive approaches before turning to open back surgery. If you are experiencing severe back pain and feel as if methods such as stretching and changing your diet haven’t helped, it may be time to discuss options with Dr. Cohen and the expert spinal surgeons at the Spine Institute in New Jersey. Contact us for an appointment today.