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Types of Spine Surgeries

 A man holds his back in pain as he lifts a chair with a young woman.

Whether it’s caused by trauma from a fall or auto accident, or a degenerative condition like arthritis, scoliosis, or another disease, back pain can be debilitating and disrupt your life. Waiting too long to seek treatment will only make your pain worse, and can permanently affect your mobility and quality of life.

Regardless of the type of pain you are experiencing, you can get help from South Island Orthopedics. SIO is home to some of the region’s leading orthopedic spine surgeons and some of the most advanced types of spine surgeries on Long Island. Our team will put their extensive experience in treating spinal injuries and spine conditions to work for you, easing your pain and getting you back to doing the things you love.

South Island Orthopedics’ Options For Spine Care

SIO’s team is committed to providing back pain relief without surgery when possible. They use multiple methods to reach an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan, including physical, imaging, and neurological exams.

Depending on the results of the evaluation, the treatment plan may include:

 A male medical professional examines an older man’s back as he sits on a table.

  • Medication to reduce pain and/or nerve damage
  • Immobilization
  • Spinal surgeries, including spinal fusions and spinal decompression
  • Physical therapy

If spine surgery is recommended to ease pain, you can expect the most advanced procedure possible, including minimally invasive spine surgery. Every patient and situation is different, so read on to learn more about what you can expect from spine care at SIO.

Spine Surgery at South Island Orthopedics

No matter the type of pain you have or its cause, if you need surgery, you can trust South Island Orthopedics. Our team of orthopedic surgeons includes:

  • Dr. David Godfried, a pediatric orthopedic specialist who performs surgical treatment for scoliosis in children and teens

Because the cause and type of pain you’re experiencing determines your specific treatment plan, SIO offers multiple spine surgery options.


The most common surgical option for spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal cord which puts pressure on nearby nerves), a laminectomy widens the spinal canal by removing parts of bone, bone spurs, or excess tissue. This alleviates the pressure, effectively reducing pain and weakness. Laminectomies are most often performed on the lumbar or lower spine.


A discectomy aims to eliminate pain caused by a herniated, ruptured, or slipped disc. Discs are rubbery cushions filled with a gel-like substance that serve as shock absorbers between the vertebrae. Age-related deterioration or injury can damage discs, causing them to slip out of place or bulge (also known as a herniated disc). This damage puts pressure on nearby nerves and causes pain, weakness, and numbness in the extremities.

A discectomy removes some or all of the affected disc. There are several approaches to this procedure, both minimally invasive and open. The best option for you depends on the extent of the damage, and whether your surgeon opts for additional surgical procedures at the same time.

Spinal Fusion

Often paired with a discectomy, spine fusion surgery involves fusing two vertebrae after removing a disc. Screws and rods help the bones fuse as they heal; the surgeon can also use grafts of bone from another part of the body. Spinal fusions are typically recommended when a degenerative condition causes chronic, nonspecific pain.

A female medical professional examines the back of a seated young man.


Commonly performed in conjunction with a spinal fusion, a foraminotomy relieves pain from a compressed nerve by removing bone at the sides of the vertebrae. Removing bone creates more room where nerves exit the spine, alleviating discomfort. However, because it can create instability in the spine, a spinal fusion may be necessary for strength.

Disc Replacement

An alternative to spinal fusion, this procedure allows the surgeon to remove a damaged spinal disc and replace it with an artificial one. An artificial disc shortens spine surgery recovery time and preserves the full range of motion in the spine.

Interlaminar Implant

A less-invasive alternative to a laminectomy or spinal fusion, an interlaminar implant is a U-shaped device inserted between two lumbar vertebrae. The implant eases pressure on the nerves and alleviates pain, preserving almost all the normal range of motion.


Every vertebra has four facets, or protrusions, that connect the bones, provide spinal stability, and allow the spine to bend and twist. Spinal nerves pass through these joints to other body parts. When the joints can become misaligned, they put pressure on the nerves, causing severe pain. A facetectomy removes a small amount of the facet bone to relieve this pressure.

Cervical Spine Surgery

 A young man stands outside of his car after a fender bender and holds his neck in pain.

The cervical portion of the spine is the neck. Surgery on this portion of the spine is used to treat herniated discs, abnormal bony growths, spinal stenosis, and trauma to the neck. Surgeons choose the precise procedure based on the condition being treated, for instance, a laminectomy for stenosis.

Scoliosis Spine Surgery At South Island Orthopedics

Often, doctors take a “wait and see” approach to treating scoliosis, only recommending treatment like bracing when the spinal curve worsens. Still, some younger patients need surgery to correct their curvature or prevent it from getting worse. At SIO, Dr. Godfried works with pediatric patients to perform two primary types of scoliosis surgery.

Spinal Fusion

The advanced surgical approach and materials used by Dr. Godfried and his team ensure that the spinal joints grow together and form a solid bone, reducing curvature. Dr. Godfried uses innovative techniques that allow fewer vertebrae to be fused, preserving mobility and speeding recovery time.

The best age for scoliosis surgery involving spinal fusion is at least 10 years old for girls, and 12 years old for boys. Most surgeons wait until patients are in their teens.

Growing Systems

Typically performed to delay spinal fusion, this type of surgery involves anchoring rods to the spine to help correct and maintain the spine’s curvature while the child grows. The drawback to this method is that it requires additional surgeries every 6 to 12 months to keep up with the spine’s growth. However, once patients are fully grown, they’ll undergo spinal fusion to keep the joints in place.

The advantage of a growth system is that the patient doesn’t have an early spinal fusion, which can thwart lung development and cause the trunk to remain unusually short. It keeps the spinal curvature from worsening until a spinal fusion is appropriate.

Expert Orthopedic Care For Any Type of Pain at SIO

South Island Orthopedics is proud to be a leading provider of orthopedic care for everyone living on the North or South Shore of Long Island, in neighboring Queens, or anywhere in between. Thanks to our partnerships with local surgical centers and hospitals, you can take comfort knowing you will receive care close to home and have access to the most advanced minimally invasive spine surgery, robotic technology, and experienced surgeons.

If you need spine care, contact us today and experience the standard in the best orthopedic care.