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Guide to Low Back Pain

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Updated June 03, 2014

9 of 10

Part 9 of 10 - What Are the Surgical Procedures for Low Back Pain?

Surgical Procedures

In the most serious cases, when the condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may relieve pain caused by back problems or serious musculoskeletal injuries. Surgical procedures can include:

Some surgical procedures may be performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia, while others require hospitalization.

It may be months following surgery before the patient is fully healed, and he or she may suffer permanent loss of flexibility.

Since invasive back surgery is not always successful, it should be performed only in patients with progressive neurologic disease or damage to the peripheral nerves.

Surgical Procedures for Severe Chronic Pain

Other surgical procedures to relieve severe chronic pain include:

  • Rhizotomy (a procedure in which the nerve root close to where it enters the spinal cord is cut to block nerve transmission and all senses from the area of the body experiencing pain)

  • Cordotomy (where bundles of nerve fibers on one or both sides of the spinal cord are intentionally severed to stop the transmission of pain signals to the brain)
  • DREZ (dorsal root entry zone operation) (a procedure in which spinal neurons transmitting the patient’s pain are destroyed surgically)
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