What is Sports Spine Surgery?

Sports Spine Surgery encompasses the development of better surgical techniques to allow patients to return to normal function after lumbar spine surgery much sooner than ever imagined. The most common surgical procedures on the lumbar spine include Microdiskectomy, Laminectomy and Lumbar Fusion.

Microdiskectomy & Laminectomy. Patients undergoing Microdiskectomy and Laminectomy are typically discharged from the hospital the same day of surgery. Microdiskectomy is performed when patients present with a specific disc herniation. Lumbar Laminectomy is performed when patients present with Lumbar Stenosis. After either surgery, pain medications are needed for only a few days with patients starting to drive a few days after the procedure. We encourage activity in the days after surgery and by 4 weeks, light exercise is highly recommended. Patients who enjoy hiking, yoga, golf or skiing can start these activities much sooner than recommended years ago.

Lumbar Fusion. Lumbar Fusion is a procedure to stabilize the vertebral bodies after performing a laminectomy. This procedure is usually performed in patients with instability such as Spondylolisthesis or Spinal Stenosis. After the laminectomy portion of the procedure, pedicle screws made of titanium are inserted into the bone of the vertebral body and secured with rods. Patients who undergo Lumbar Fusion are encouraged to walk the night of surgery if possible and most patients are discharged the next day after surgery. After surgery, our goal is to have patients mobilize as much as possible to reduce any muscle spasms. The incision in the lower back is the main cause for back pain after surgery; mobilization reduces the spasms and improves function in the short-term and long-term.

As operative times are reduced, muscle spasms are less, and early mobilization is possible. Our goal is to have patients return to function as quickly and safely as allowed. Patients can then enjoy most of their presurgical activity rather than enduring restrictions over the long term.