Spinal Surgery

Neurosurgeons at Harper University Hospital and Wayne State University specialize in the management of chronic back disorders, including degenerative disc disease and traumatic conditions and tumors of the spine.

Using innovative new procedures, Harper neurosurgeons can often repair back disorders and stabilize the spine while preserving the patient’s range of motion and functional status. Today, many spinal surgery procedures at Harper University Hospital are performed using advanced, minimally invasive approaches — leading to faster recoveries, shorter hospital stays and reduced postoperative pain.

Some of the nation’s most innovative spinal surgery procedures are available at Harper, including:

Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion

Harper neurosurgeons perform delicate spinal fusion procedures using minimally invasive techniques. Spinal fusion unites two bony segments of the spine, whether a fracture or a vertebral joint. During the procedure, rods and screws act as an internal cast to stabilize the vertebra until fusion occurs.

Dynamic Stabilization of the Spine

During this advanced surgical procedure, a device with internal spacers is attached to either side of the affected vertebra. The device stabilizes the joints, helping to keep the vertebrae in a more natural position while leaving the spine itself intact. Made of flexible materials, the device permits a controlled range of motion. This device is currently FDA approved for spinal lumbar fusion. Dynamic stabilization may be appropriate for patients with spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or painful disc degeneration. The procedure may give some patients a surgical option that allows them to maintain some flexibility and function, while reducing pain.

Disc Arthroplasty

In this technique, the painful and degenerative disc is completely replaced by an artificial disc. In a selected group of patients with a single level disc disease, artificial disc replacement provides the best treatment of back pain while maintaining the normal biomechanics of the spine.

Scoliosis and Kyphosis Correction

Complex deformities of the spine are corrected using innovative minimal access technologies to avoid large, painful incisions. In the XLIF approach, a tube is inserted in the retroperitoneal space on the psoas muscle, and multiple discectomies and fusions can be performed under optical magnification and precise nerve function monitoring. This achieves amazing correction of complex and difficult spinal deformities with minimal blood loss and postoperative pain. Often the patient can be discharged from the hospital in one to two days instead of staying for five to eight days with the usual long-back incisions. If a second stage is needed from the back, the screws can be introduced through minor stab incisions that minimize tissue injury and allow for speedier recovery.

Complex Spinal Surgery

Harper Hospital is a tertiary referral center for especially complex spinal conditions. Harper neurosurgeons have the most experience across Michigan in the management of spinal tumors. These include tumors inside the dura and spinal cord like ependymomas, meningiomas, and schwannomas, and also benign and malignant tumors of the bone of the spine. They use the most advanced surgical techniques, including laser and ultrasonic aspirator techniques, to remove tumors safely. After tumor removal, the spine often needs complex reconstructive procedures to replace the bone destroyed by the tumor. The neuro-spine surgeons also manage the difficult cases of post laminectomy/fusion syndromes and failed back surgery. The Neuro-Spine Center enjoys excellent outcomes and a strong referral base.

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