Spine Surgery in Jackson Hole
Skilled Back & Spine Surgeons in Jackson
Nearly every part of your body relies on your spine for support, which
naturally puts a lot of strain on the back. People find themselves bending
over, lifting heavy objects, slouching, and sitting far more than our
bodies ever expected to, and as a result back pain is one of the leading
causes of disability in the world.
While our bodies may not have yet caught up with our modern lifestyle,
medical research is continuously closing the gap. A plethora of spinal
surgeries are now available to treat numerous back conditions. St. John’s
Medical Center has stayed up to date on the latest operations and safety
measures so that we can provide you with innovative procedures that require
less invasive techniques.
Anxious about an impending spinal surgery? Feel free to call us at 307.739.6199
or 888.739.7499 with any questions or concerns.
Cervical Surgical Procedures
The cervical spine describes the bones that make up your neck. This is
one of the most important parts of your body, and a surprisingly durable
one. Like any part of the body, it can get damaged, and when it does,
spinal surgery may be your best option to alleviate pain and protect your neck.
Cervical Disk Replacement
Your spine consists of several thin, round pieces of cartilage called intervertebral
discs. These discs act as padding so that you can flex and stretch your
back without pain. Over time these discs wear down, and the result is
aches and pains that make it difficult to move. When discs in the cervical
spine get damaged, it can result in severe pain to the neck, arm, and
shoulder. Cervical disk replacement surgery may be necessary to correct
- Disk replacement is usually recommended for patients that:
- Are under 65 years old
- Experience frequent pain or numbness in the neck and arms
- Have bones in good condition
- Are clear of, or have only minimal signs of, osteoporosis
In disc replacement, the damaged sic is replaced with an artificial replacement.
To access the area, the surgeon need only make a small incision near the
affected area and operate. The artificial replacement is designed for
flexibility so patients can enjoy a full range of motion after their recovery.
Cervical Discectomy & Fusion
Your spine is home to countless nerve endings. Wear and tear on the spine
can exert pressure on these nerves and result in pain and irritation.
If you are not a candidate for disc replacement, a doctor may recommend
a discectomy, in which the damaged disc is removed and the space in between
the vertebrae is fused together. Though this procedure causes a slight
decrease in flexibility, it helps alleviate serious neck and arm pain.
Lumbar Surgical Procedures
The lower area of your back is called the lumbar spine, and it is one of
the most common problem areas for people worldwide. Lower back pain strikes
at the most inconvenient times and can be very hard to avoid once it becomes
a chronic condition. When physical therapy and medication fail to treat
the problem, it’s time to consider surgery.
Lumbar Micro discectomy
Like the cervical spine, the lumbar spine is lined with several discs that
can get damaged, a condition commonly referred to as a slipped disc. Micro
discectomy is a minimally invasive spinal surgery where a small incision
is made and the damaged part of the disc is removed. This technique is
ideal in that it spares the bones, muscles, and ligaments in the lower
back from excessive strain and allows for a faster recovery.
Surgery is not often required for slipped lumbar discs. Typically the problem
can be fixed with basic care measures, and surgery is only recommended
when the pain from the pinched nerve radiates down to the legs in a condition
Each vertebra on your spine contains structures called lamina. These structures
act as a roof for the spinal canal and protect the vertebrae from damage.
Unfortunately, the inner part of the spine can be damaged despite the
lamina’s protection, and then the structure becomes an obstacle
separating a surgeon from the area that needs treatment. Laminectomies
are procedures that remove the lamina so surgeons can treat the damaged
part of the spine.
- Lumbar laminectomy may be required for patients that:
- Suffer chronic back pain
- Have a narrowed spinal canal (spinal stenosis)
- Suffer pain and numbness in the legs
- Have a slipped disc
A great many spine problems can be remedied by fusing two vertebrae together
and preventing pressure from exerting on damaged nerves. There are several
ways to perform a lumbar fusion, and you can talk with our team to determine
which method will be best for your condition.
- Lumbar fusion is often used to treat:
- Sciatica – An irritation of the spinal nerves from a bulging or slipped disc.
- Spondylolisthesis – An abnormal spine movement where vertebrae slip
on top of each other and damage the spinal nerves.
- Degenerative Disc Disease – When discs have sustained such significant
damage that the spine becomes unstable and radiates pain throughout the
lower back and legs.
- Arthritis – Spinal arthritis often results in spinal stenosis, a
condition that causes the spinal canal to narrow and exert pressure on
nerves and nerve roots.
Lateral Access Surgery
Medical researchers are always looking for ways to make surgery easier
on patients. One of their most significant breakthroughs has been lateral
access surgery (LAS). This minimally invasive procedure takes a new, safer
approach to spinal fusion. Rather than cutting into the body from the
back or the front to reach the spine, LAS makes incisions in the side
of the body, putting less stress on nerves, muscles, and blood vessels.
As a result, patients need less anesthesia, experience a faster recovery,
and lose less blood during the operation.
At St. John’s Medical Center, we make use of the extreme Lateral
Interbody Fusion (XLIF®) procedure, a proven surgical technique that
does not cut into back muscles, bone, or ligaments. Though advantageous
in many ways, XLIF is not right for all patients. Discuss the spinal surgery
options with your doctor to determine if this method will be the best
route for your operation.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spinal surgery used to treat compression
fractures. The procedure involves inserting a balloon into the collapsed
vertebra. A special material is injected into the balloon that hardens
and keeps the damaged vertebra stable. This innovative treatment is relatively
simple, and does not require a long recovery time. Most patients resume
their normal activities almost immediately after the operation.
Non-Surgical Spine Treatment
Spinal surgery is usually a last resort for treating back and spine problems.
In most cases, these issues can be treated with non-invasive medical measures,
or even just a period of rest. It is only when these methods fail that
doctors start exploring surgery with patients.
- Non-surgical back pain relief treatments include:
Lifestyle Changes – After hearing about your situation, your doctor may ask about your job,
hobbies, and sleeping situation. In many cases, back pain will go away
on its own by avoiding certain activities or switching up how you perform
certain motions. Even sleeping on a better pillow can offer relief.
– During physical therapy patients learn back and neck exercises specifically
designed to alleviate their pain. This program is done under the supervision
of a trained physical therapist who will track your progress and work
with your doctor to determine whether or not exercise will be enough to
correct the issue.
Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) – In this treatment doctors inject a blend of steroid and anesthesia into
the damaged area. The anesthesia will provide relief from the pain while
the steroid reduces nerve inflammation. This is not a permanent treatment,
but one that can provide much needed relief while you undergo physical therapy.
Facet Joint Injections – Small facet joints are located in between your vertebrae along the back
of the spine. Injections in these joints can reduce inflammation and help
doctors determine the source of your back pain. In some cases, these injections
provide long term-relief.
Connect with former spine surgery patients who want to share their experiences
with you. Learn more and find a patient ambassador at
Wondering What’s Right for You?
There are several options for back pain relief, and it can be hard to determine
which one will best treat your condition. At St. John’s Medical
Center, our team will educate you on your condition and how various treatments
may affect it. Working with our knowledge of effective treatments and
your goals and concerns, together we can come up with a solution that
best remedies the situation.
Please call us at 307.739.6199 or 888.739.7499 to ask any questions about
spinal surgery and back pain treatment.