• surgeons operating spine surgerySpine surgery may be necessary to repair an injury or correct a deformity. Memorial Spine offers many different types of spine surgery. Our most common surgical procedures are:

    Interbody fusion -- this is just one way of fusing two adjacent vertebrae together so that there is little or no movement between them. Our surgeons offer minimally invasive spinal fusion that can result in faster recovery times and a decreased risk of complications. There are several ways to reach the spine for interbody fusion.

    • Anterior approach/retroperitoneal -- an abdominal surgeon prepares the view for the spine surgeon by going in next to and behind the bowels and stomach.
    • Posterior approach -- the surgeon accesses the spine from the back. This is the most common approach.
    • Lateral approach -- the surgeon accesses the spine from the side to avoid cutting major muscles.
    • Transforaminal approach -- the surgeon accesses the spine from the back, but does not have to move any nerve roots and can fuse anterior and posterior columns from the same incision.

    A note for people considering spinal fusion: Surgeon James Lindley is currently enrolling patients for a new randomized clinical trial comparing standard spinal fusion to the ACADIA Facet replacement device. The study is open to men and women 21 to 85 years old who have undergone six months of conservative treatment and have spinal stenosis at the L1 to L3 levels. For more information, contact Vikki Taylor at 912-350-8568 or

    Open discectomy -- removing all or part of a damaged disc to relieve pressure on the spine and nerves. An open discectomy gives the surgeon the best view to remove damaged disc parts.

    Microdiscectomy -- minimally invasive discectomy in which the surgeon uses an endoscope and special instruments to remove the disc through a smaller incision. This can result in a faster recovery time and a decreased risk of complications.

    Disc replacement -- replacing a damaged disc with an artificial version. An artificial disc restores disc height and movement between the vertebrae. Disc replacement is not a viable option for everybody and is only used in certain cases. We were one of only five sites in the entire United States selected to participate in a pilot study for the TRIUMPH Lumbar Disc for treatment of degenerative disc disease.

    Laminectomy -- removing all or part of the bone around the spinal cord to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

    Kyphoplasty -- the surgeon uses a special X-ray called a fluoroscope to insert a balloon into a fractured vertebra. The balloon is inflated to recreate bone height then bone cement is injected to stabilize the fracture.

    Minimally invasive spine surgery -- the surgeon uses special instruments to perform an operation through an endoscope and smaller incisions. This technique reduces blood loss, limits muscle body disruption, and minimizes contact with the nerve roots. This can result is faster recovery times and a decreased risk of complications. It is important to note that not all procedures can be performed in a minimally invasive manner.