Image via http://www.back-surgery.com/types/
Each type of back surgery derives with its own risks and benefits.
Spinal Fusion. Spinal fusion is the most common surgery for back pain. In a spinal fusion, a surgeon connects spinal bones, called vertebrae, together. This limits gesture between the bones of the spine. Fusion also limits the widening of nerves. Reduced spinal motion does not expressively limit activity for most people. One risk distinctive to spinal fusion surgery is incomplete fusion of the vertebrae. That can require additional surgery. While incomplete fusion is uncommon, smoking does escalate the risk. Smoking also increases the risk of infection after back surgery.
Laminectomy. In a laminectomy, a surgeon take out parts of the bone, bone spurs, or ligaments in the back. This releases pressure on spinal nerves that may be producing pain or weakness. A laminectomy, however, can cause the spine to be less stable. If the spinal bones become unsteady, a spinal fusion is usually done. Spinal fusion may also be executed at the same time as laminectomy.
Foraminotomy. During a foraminotomy, a surgeon cuts away bone at the sides of vertebrae to widen the space where nerve roots exit the spine. The engorged space may relieve pressure on the nerves, thereby releasing pain. A foraminotomy can occasionally result in abridged stability of the spine, similar to what happens in a laminectomy. A spinal fusion may be process at the same time. Doing so increases the amount of time needed for recovery but also inhibits the spine from becoming unstable. If the spine becomes unsteady after a foraminotomy, a spinal fusion can be done to correct the problem.
Discectomy. A protruding or "slipped" disc, the cushion that splits vertebrae, may press on a spinal nerve and cause back pain. In a discectomy, the surgeon eliminates all or part of the disc. A discectomy can be done through a large cut or through a smaller incision using tools from outside the body. A discectomy can be part of a larger surgery that includes laminectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion.
Disc Replacement. In synthetic disc replacement, a surgeon removes a impaired spinal disc and inserts an artificial disc between the vertebrae. Disc replacement permits constant motion of the spine. It is gaining acceptance as an alternative to spinal fusion. Recovery time for a disc replacement may be shorter than for a spinal fusion in many people. As with any external object placed inside the body, there is a small risk of the device dislocating or deteriorating.
Interlaminar Implant. Another substitute to spinal fusion is the insert of a U-shaped device. This device is positioned between two back bones in the lower back and helps keep the space between. The procedure can be done at the same time as a laminectomy and surgical aid of pressure on the spinal nerves. Unlike spinal fusion, the implant delivers stability without completely confining motion. It does limit backward bending in the region where it’s placed, which helps to ease signs of spinal stenosis.
For most people, the main threat of back surgery is not achieving good relief from back pain after the surgery. Unluckily, this risk is hard to foresee or avoid. By openly talking to your surgeon which can help you know what to anticipate from back surgery.