Spine surgery may be recommended if non-surgical treatment such as medications and physical therapy fails to relieve symptoms. Surgery is only considered in cases where the exact source of pain can be determined—such as a herniated disc, scoliosis, or spinal stenosis. Back surgery often more predictably relieves associated pain or numbness that goes down one or both arms or legs. Lumbar surgery refers to any type of surgery in the lumbar spine or lower back. Orthopedic surgeons are generally more qualified at treating spinal deformities. Spine surgery techniques have evolved so rapidly that a new discipline "spine surgery" has been born in the medical community. The well-trained spine surgeon will also have at his disposal a complete array of techniques which can be individualized for each patient. Every patient presenting a spine problem necessitating surgery will have some unique quality which will require adaptation of all known surgical techniques. A key factor which will identify a surgeon qualified to do high quality spine surgery will be a record of producing spinal balance if spinal reconstruction is necessary. Little skill is necessary to produce a spinal fusion. But significant skill is necessary to recreate spinal balance. Spinal fusion is the most common surgery for back pain. The doctor will join spinal bones, called vertebrae, together, in this. This limits the motion between them and how far your nerves can stretch. But it probably won't limit your activity. It's rare, but the bones don't always fuse completely in this surgery. Smoking can make this more likely. If it happens, you may need another operation to fix it.
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