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Treatments and Procedures

Treatments and Procedures Terms

Non-Surgical Treatments

Activity Modifications

Changes in lifestyle and daily activities than can help relieve the symptoms of spine-related pain.

Aquatic Therapy

A type of physical therapy that takes place in a pool or aquatic environment and uses water’s natural buoyancy to facilitate low impact exercise.

Chiropractic Care

A form of alternative medicine focusing on the diagnosis of spinal misalignment and subluxations and treatment via spinal adjustments.

Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI)

The injection of a corticosteroid and anesthetic into the epidural space of the spine to help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves.

Exercise

Physical activity that enhances or maintains fitness and overall health and wellness.

Facet Blocks

The injection of a local anesthetic into the small joints on either side of the vertebrae to provide pain relief.

Medial Branch Nerve Blocks

A procedure for pain relief and diagnosis in which an anesthetic is injected into the small medial nerves connected to a specific facet joint.

Medication Management

A treatment system used to ensure that patients are receiving optimal therapeutic outcomes for the prescription medications that they are taking.

Physical Therapy

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Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

A procedure to reduce pain in which an electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue in order to decrease pain signals from that specific area.

Selective Nerve Root Block

A procedure for pain relief and diagnosis in which an anesthetic and steroid are injected around a very specific nerve root/spinal nerve that exits out of the spinal cord.

Spinal Injections

See Epidural Steroid Injections.

Transforaminal Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)

An epidural steroid injection administered at a foramen, the opening at the side of the spine where a nerve roots exits.

Weight Loss

Intentional and controlled loss of body weight in order to relieve the stress that excess weight can cause on the spine.

Surgical Treatments

Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion (ACDF)

A surgical procedure used to treat disc herniation or degeneration in the cervical spine (neck). ACDF involves entering the anterior of the neck, removing a damaged disc, and replacing it with bone and/or metal implants to fuse the vertebrae together.

Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)

A type of spinal fusion that uses an anterior approach (through the abdominal region) to fuse lumbar vertebrae together. In ALIF procedures, the intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone or metal spacer.

Balloon Kyphoplasty

A treatment for spinal compression fractures in which orthopedic balloons are inserted into the vertebral body and inflated to move it back into position. The balloons are then deflated and the cavity is filled with bone cement to stabilize the fracture create an internal cast.

Cervical Corpectomy

A procedure using an anterior approach of the cervical spine to remove vertebral bone and intervertebral disc material. Due to the amount of bone and disc material that is removed during a cervical corpectomy, the procedure typically involves spinal fusion, as well.

Cervical Foraminotomy

A surgical procedure that involves widening the forarmen, the openings through which the spinal nerve exits the spinal column, in order to relieve pressure on spinal nerves.

Cervical Laminectomy

A procedure used to relieve pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord in the cervical spine by removing the lamina, plates of bone that form the posterior walls of the vertebrae.

Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF)

Also called Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF) and Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF). A type of spinal fusion that uses a lateral approach (through the patient’s side) to fuse vertebrae together. In DLIF/XLIF/LLIF procedures, the intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone or metal spacer.

Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF)

Also called Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF) and Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF). A type of spinal fusion that uses a lateral approach (through the patient’s side) to fuse vertebrae together. In DLIF/XLIF/LLIF procedures, the intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone or metal spacer.

Laser Spine Surgery

A spine surgery technique that uses a laser instead of a traditional scalpel to create small cuts and remove soft tissue. Even in laser spine surgery, traditional instruments are used to remove bone and ligaments due to the laser’s limited functionality. Many surgeons content that traditional spine surgery is equally precise and safer than laser spine surgery because heat from the laser can lead to nerve and tissue damage.

Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF)

Also called Direct Lateral Interbody Fusion (DLIF) and Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (LLIF). A type of spinal fusion that uses a lateral approach (through the patient’s side) to fuse vertebrae together. In DLIF/XLIF/LLIF procedures, the intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone or metal spacer.

Lumbar Decompression

Decompression is a type of surgery performed to relieve symptoms caused by pressure on the spinal cord and/or the nerves branching from it. Lumbar decompression focuses on the lumbar spine. Decompression procedures include discectomy, laminectomy, foraminectomy, corpectomy, and osteophyte removal.

Lumbar Discectomy

A surgical procedure to remove herniated disc material that is pressing on a nerve root or the spinal cord in the lumbar spine.

Lumbar Disc Microsurgery

A surgical technique using a special microscope to treat disc herniation in the lumbar spine. The procedure is performed by removing the herniated portion of the disc through a small incision that is made directly over the vertebra with the herniated disc.

Lumbar Laminectomy

A procedure used to relieve pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord in the lumbar spine by removing the lamina, plates of bone that form the posterior walls of the vertebrae.

Microdiscectomy

A surgical procedure where a small portion of bone or intervertebral disc is removed in order to reduce pressure on nearby nerve fibers.

Myelography

A test using x-rays or CT scans to visualize the spinal bones and the space around the spinal column. The test is performed by injecting a dye into the space between vertebral spinous processes where the spinal fluid is located and taking images with an x-ray or CT scan.

Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)

A type of spinal fusion that uses a posterior approach (through the patient’s back) to fuse vertebrae together. In PLIF procedures, the intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with a bone or metal spacer.

Posterolateral Lumbar Fusion

A type of spinal fusion that uses a posterior approach (through the patient’s back) to fuse lumbar vertebrae together. In posterior lumbar fusion procedures, a bone graft is placed between the transverse processes in the back of the spine to form a bone bridge.

Spinal Cord Stimulator (SCS)

An implantable device that is surgically placed under the skin to send electrical impulses to the spinal cord via a small electrical lead placed into the epidural space. The SCS stimulates nerves to block or modify pain.

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