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COVID-19 Inova Spine Program Scheduling Appointments Notice

Inova is taking the appropriate steps to protect the safety of our patients, community, team members and caregivers. Virtual visits are now being offered. Please call 703-776-4700 to schedule your spine appointment or change an existing appointment. If you are experiencing a fever or symptoms of respiratory infection, such as cough or difficulty breathing, or had exposure to a COVID-19 patient, please contact your primary care physician and arrange a virtual visit or primary care clinic appointment if indicated.

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Surgery is usually an option only after less invasive options have proven unsuccessful.

Inova's Spine Program-Doctor and patient discuss surgery options image

A decision to have spine surgery requires careful evaluation of several factors. (These include the severity of the disorder, the presence or absence of pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, how long the pain has been present, and past medical history.) Minimally invasive surgical procedures can be good options for treatment of herniated discs or compression fractures.

Lumbar disc replacement and cervical disc replacement

Lumbar and cervical disc replacements are similar in concept to hip or knee replacements. Surgeons remove the damaged, painful disc in the cervical or lumbar spine and replace it with a metal and plastic implant. The implant is designed to move like a normal disc and recreate spinal motion and function.


Laminaplasty is a procedure in which the lamina (the bony arches on the vertebrae) are cut free along one side and hinged open like a door to enlarge the spinal canal and relieve pressure on the spine.


A laminectomy removes the bony arches on one or more vertebrae to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve branching from the spinal cord.

Spinal fusion

Spinal fusion connects two or more vertebrae together and keeps them from moving until they have a chance to grow together, or fuse. Surgeons place metal screws into the vertebrae and attach them to metal plates or rods that are bolted together in the back of the spine. Bone is grafted into the spaces between the vertebrae.

Interspinous/interlaminar implant

This device is a shock absorber that fits between two vertebrae to provide cushioning and stability, and relieve pressure on the spine.

Microendoscopic discectomy for herniated discs

Surgeons insert a tiny metal tube to access the herniated disc and remove the portion pressing on the nerve. Muscle is displaced rather than cut, so when the tube is removed, the muscle falls back into its natural location.

Kyphoplasty for compression fractures

Surgeons insert a balloon tamp at the site of the compression fracture and inflate it, pushing the bone back to its normal height and shape. The cavity is filled with bone cement. When it hardens, the tubes are removed.

Minimally invasive surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery is an effective option for many patients. These methods usually are performed through smaller incisions and reduce the risk of damage to nearby parts of the spine. Patients benefit from less scarring and post-operative pain, a shorter recovery time and a quicker return to daily activity.

Prepare for surgery with our FREE pre-op class

Our Back in Action class is a helpful, FREE course for patients preparing for spine surgery. These one hour-and-a-half classes are available to all Inova Spine Program surgical patients and are held regularly at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital. If you're not able to attend the class in person, don’t worry. It is also offered online as a video download. Click here for more information.

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