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Spine and Back Surgery

When you have a problem with your spine, it can cause debilitating pain along with numbness, tingling, and weakness. Many spine problems only get worse if they're not treated.

While more than 90% of spine problems can be treated without surgery, some require surgical intervention to improve symptoms and prevent further damage.

If you need surgery, our team offers advanced and minimally invasive surgeries and a full care team of surgeons, physical therapists, nurses, and others to support you — from your initial consult to complete recovery.

What Spine Conditions Do You Treat?

We treat the following spinal conditions, as well as other rare problems with the spine:

  • Compression fractures, when there's one or more broken, collapsed vertebra in the spine, usually from osteoporosis.
  • Degenerative disc disease, which happens with age. The wearing down of the discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine can lead to osteoarthritis or pain and stiffness in the spine.
  • Herniated disc (slipped disc), when a disc in the spine slips out of place. This can cause pain, especially if the slipped disc pushes against a nerve.
  • Myelopathy, which is severe compression of the spine that affects the nerve roots. This can cause issues such as pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness, bowel or bladder problems, and trouble walking.
  • Radiculopathy (pinched nerve), which can cause pain, numbness, or tingling in the area of the body to which the nerve travels.
  • Sciatica, which causes pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg due to pressure on a nerve root in the lower back that affects the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve travels from the buttocks to the foot.
  • Scoliosis, when a curve in the spine pushes the spinal column to the side, resulting in an "S" or "C" shape instead of a straight line.
  • Spinal infections, bacterial or fungal, in or around the spinal canal or within a bone in the spine.
  • Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal (the tunnel in the middle of the vertebrae that the nerves go through), due to swollen, thickened, or out-of-place tissue or bone. This can cause numbness, pain, and weakness, most often in the legs, feet, and buttocks.
  • Spondylolisthesis, when one vertebra in the back slides over the bone below it, usually in the lower back. This can squeeze the nerve roots, causing pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs and the loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Spondylolysis, a defect or fracture in the "wing" part of the vertebra, which helps to keeps the vertebrae in place. This can make the vertebrae unstable and cause it to slide out of place.
  • Sprains and strains in the neck and back, including tears, in one or more of the ligaments or tendons around the spine.
  • Tumors in the spine, cancerous and noncancerous, which can form on the nerves, bone, and other soft tissues.

What Spine and Back Surgery Services Do You Offer at UPMC?

Our spinal surgery experts offer a long list of treatments, including:

  • Disc replacement — The replacement of a damaged, swollen disc with an artificial disc to cushion the spine.
  • Discectomy and fusion — Surgery to remove a damaged part of the disc and fuse the vertebrae. This can treat pain and nerve problems from spinal compression.
  • Foraminotomy — A procedure to widen the opening of the spinal canal and relieve nerve pressure.
  • Complex spinal reconstruction — Surgery to correct deformities and stabilize the spine, often involving multiple areas of the spine.
  • Epidural (spinal) steroid injections — The precise injection of a steroid medication to relieve pain and swelling.
  • Kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty — Procedures to treat compression fractures by rebuilding the vertebrae.
  • Lumbar microdiscectomy The surgical removal of small pieces of disc, ligament, or bone that presses on the nerve in the spine.

Why Choose UPMC for Spine and Back Surgery?

Chronic back and neck pain can be difficult to treat, and the same care plan doesn’t work for everyone. At UPMC, our team of world-class experts takes a patient-centered approach to providing comprehensive spine care and treatment. 

Whether you're dealing with a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or scoliosis, our goal is to help you get back to a pain-free life. With advanced diagnostics, wide-ranging nonsurgical treatments, advanced surgical approaches, including minimally invasive procedures, and a focus on patient-centered care, you can trust UPMC for all your spine care needs.