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If lower back pain is getting you down and nonsurgical treatments haven’t done the trick, it may be time to consider back surgery. Two of the most common back surgeries that doctors recommend are spinal fusion and disc replacement. Spine Surgeon Dr. Charla Fischer in New York City can evaluate your condition and help you decide if surgery is advised, and what procedure is best for you. In the meantime, you can learn more about these two types of back surgery.

Why might I need back surgery?
The spine is a complex combination of vertebrae, ligaments, nerves, muscles and discs. In a healthy spine, each of these elements work together to allow movement and balance. When back pain appears, whether it’s gradual or sudden or minor or intense, it can be debilitating in some cases. Some common causes of back pain are overuse, disc degeneration, disc herniation, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, spondylolisthesis, or arterial or vascular disease.

How is my problem diagnosed?
Visiting a specialist like Dr. Fischer is the best way to get the correct diagnosis for back pain. Your medical history and current symptoms will be discussed. A complete physical examination will be performed that includes range of motion, nerve function, and more. Imaging tests may be recommended to help assess your condition. Once all of the information is obtained, Dr. Fischer will work with you to create a treatment plan.

What is spinal fusion?
This surgery fuses together two vertebrae so that motion between them is eliminated by creating one single, solid bone. You might think of it as welding the painful vertebrae together so that the two bones can heal together as one. It is often the surgery of choice when motion or movement is the source of the back pain. Different techniques may be employed by experienced surgeons like Dr. Fischer, with access possible from the front or back of the patient.

What is disc replacement?
Disc replacement surgery replaces a damaged or worn disc between vertebrae with an artificial or synthetic disc. This serves to reduce back pain and allow the patient to resume movement and activities after only a few days. Recovery is faster than fusion surgery because there is no waiting for bones to grow together. The artificial disc is made of titanium alloy and medical grade plastic. This advanced technology is safe and effective in simulating spinal function. Most patients are up and walking the day after disc replacement surgery.

How do I chooose?
There are numerous factors involved in selecting the best spine surgery for each individual patient. Every case is unique and requires careful diagnosis and treatment so that the ultimate goal of eliminating back pain and returning to a desired lifestyle. Dr. Fischer is able to help patients decide the best treatment that will allow them to do just that.  Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.