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Who Is a Candidate for Spine Surgery?

Back problems can result from aging, sports injuries, car accidents, or wear-and-tear. Fortunately, most spinal problems can be treated well with conservative measures. Changes in the spine caused by wear-and-tear, fractures, or herniated discs may or may not require spine surgery. 

At MidJersey Orthopaedics, our specialized Spine Center helps patients regain their quality of life using caring and comprehensive treatment plans. With offices in Washington, Flemington, and Bridgewater, New Jersey, our orthopedic experts perform modern techniques for gentle spine surgery when you need it. 

Spinal surgery for vertebral fractures

A fracture can occur in any part of the vertebrae and cause different symptoms depending on its location and severity. Common causes of vertebral fractures are accidents, injuries, and falls.

Fracture can lead to displacement and fragmentation of bone parts in the vertebral canal, which contains your spinal cord, which increases the risk of paraplegia. Almost 50% of all spinal cord injuries result in total loss of function and feeling below the fracture, so every vertebral fracture must be taken seriously and treated accordingly. 

However, there are also stable vertebral fractures that generally don’t require surgery. These can be treated conservatively through physiotherapy and pain elimination.

Spine surgery options

Spondylodesis and kyphoplasty are typically used to treat progressively painful back conditions caused by vertebral fractures when conservative treatment methods aren’t sufficient to restore function or relieve pain. If you have limited mobility or function because of a fracture, you might be a good candidate for spine surgery.

To be a good candidate for these options, you must have pain associated with the fracture and not because of other problems like arthritis or a herniated disc.


Spondylodesis, also called spinal fusion, addresses unstable vertebrae. With this procedure, at least two vertebrae are fused, connected with screws and plates to achieve the highest possible stabilization level.


This minimally invasive procedure relieves pain associated with spinal fractures and related compression. Your surgeon inserts a balloon into the vertebra, elevating the fracture and returning the pieces to a normal position. Then a cement-like material is used to stabilize the bone in that position.

Spinal surgery for cervical disc disease

If your pain is related to cervical disc disease, your doctor may order a CT scan or MRI to check on your spinal cord. If your cervical discs show degeneration, spine surgery might be an option depending on your pain level.

Sometimes numbness, tingling, or pain are caused by inflamed cervical nerve roots. You might also experience weakness if your spinal cord is compressed. In severe cases, trouble walking or difficulty with bladder control and bowel movements can occur.

Often, nonsurgical treatment such as physical therapy, pain medication, ice, heat, or rest is enough to manage symptoms. If symptoms persist beyond six weeks, you may need to consider spine surgery for pain relief.

If you have cervical degenerative disc disease, you must be in good health so you can tolerate the surgery and recover well. It’s best if you haven’t been diagnosed with underlying conditions like diabetes or heart disease. The best candidates are between the ages of 20 and 70 and have reached skeletal maturity.

Finding the right treatment for you

Our experts at MidJersey Orthopaedics always treat spine surgery as a last resort in pain relief. Conservative care options like exercise and physical therapy might eliminate pain altogether. If they don’t, contact our specialists to discuss surgical treatment options. You can call the location nearest you or request an appointment online.

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