Excellence in Back and Spine Surgery
Torrance Memorial's orthopedic surgeons and clinical staff have a reputation for excellent outcomes in spine surgery. Our surgeons are highly experienced in the use of robotic and minimally invasive techniques, which have many advantages to patients, including less blood loss, quicker recovery and faster healing.
Diseases of Spine
Degenerative Disc Disease
In a normal and healthy spine, gel-like discs along the spine cushion the vertebrae to allow movement without discomfort. These discs can be damaged by age and wear and tear, leading to what is called degenerative disc disease.
Patients with scoliosis have a spine that bends abnormally to one side or the other.
Back and Spine Procedures
Disc Replacement Surgery
Surgical disc replacement can bring welcome pain relief to patients suffering from degenerative disc disease. Artificial disc replacement surgery may be an option for patients who are unable to find relief from their pain with non-surgical treatments. This procedure involves removal of the damaged disc and insertion of two metal plates into the space that remains. These are anchored by metal spikes around which bone will eventually grow. A polyethylene spacer placed between the plates serves as sort of a shock absorber for the back or neck.
Lumbar Spine Fusion
Age and a lifetime of physical activity may cause cartilage damage in the lumbar region (the lower portion of the spine) that occurs with age, leading to low back pain which is one of the most frequent complaints bringing patients to a doctor's office. Spinal fusion may be recommended if more conservative treatments, including physical therapy or medication, do not bring relief.
Spinal fusion surgery fuses the bones together permanently. This can be accomplished in several different ways. Bone graft material can be placed over the spine or between the vertebrae or a special cage can be packed with the material and inserted between the vertebrae.
The graft may come from different places, including another body part (usually the pelvic bone), from a bone bank, or it may be made from a synthetic bone substitute. Rods and screws may be required for additional support.
Lumbar spine fusion can be done utilizing minimally invasive techniques and the da Vinci Surgical System. This robotic surgery system allows surgeons to visualize in three dimensions, providing multi-angle views that aren't possible with a traditional open or laparoscopic approach. An anterior (front) fusion on the lumbar (lower) spine is a common surgery for various conditions, for instance a degenerative disc disease.
This minimally invasive treatment can provide relief for patients with compression fractures of the spine. Kyphoplasty involves making a small incision in the back, through which a narrow tube is threaded into the fractured area of the spine. Under x-ray guidance a small balloon is inserted through the tube and into the fracture. The balloon is inflated, gently raising the collapsed vertebra back to its normal position while also compressing the soft inner bone to create a void inside the vertebra. Deflating the balloon, the surgeon injects bone cement into the cavity, which hardens and helps to stabilize the vertebra.
A laminectomy may be recommended for patients experiencing pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves. This pressure can be caused by a variety of issues, including a herniated disc or bony growths within the spinal canal. A laminectomy may be recommended if conservative treatments, including physical therapy and medications, don't provide relief and symptoms are severe and worsening.
Also known as decompression surgery, this procedure is most commonly performed on the lower back and neck. The lamina is the back part of the vertebra that covers the spinal cord. Laminectomy involves the removal of the lamina from one or more vertebrae through a small incision, which relieves the painful pressure. During the procedure the surgeon also clears out bone fragments that press on the nerve roots and checks the nerves to make sure they're no longer being pinched.