Nonsurgical treatments are often effective. In fact, most back pain improves with rest, pain relief, massage and hot or cold therapy. If the pain does not improve, other nonsurgical treatment options may include:
- Drug therapy
- Electrical stimulation
- Ergonomic training
- Hot or cold therapy and massage
- Physical therapy
- Spinal injections
- Therapeutic exercise
For patients who have tried nonsurgical methods to alleviate back or neck problems without success, minimally invasive surgical techniques are available to correct many spine disorders.
Minimally invasive surgery, including robot-assisted spinal surgery, benefits patients by reducing hospitalization time, decreasing pain and speeding recovery. Microsurgical advances also minimize the impact of surgery on nearby muscles and ligaments.
We also offer numerous cutting-edge techniques, which have been shown to preserve motion, reduce recovery time and reduce reoperations—compared to traditional anterior cervical surgical techniques.
Among the many procedures performed by our spine specialists are:
- Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
- Artificial disc replacement
- Cervical disc arthroplasty
- Cervical laminoplasty
- Cervical foraminotomy
- Complex spinal reconstruction
- Decompressive laminectomy
- Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)
- Percutaneous fusions
- Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)
- Scoliosis surgery
- Spinal fracture repair
- Spondylosthesis surgery
- Tranforminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
- Tumor surgery
- X-stop procedure
- XLIF (extreme lateral interbody fusion)
UC Irvine Health physicians performed the first robot-assisted minimally invasive spine surgery on the West Coast using SpineAssist®, an advanced robotic navigational tool.
SpineAssist is designed to guide the surgeon, with help from a robotic arm, in placing screw implants to stabilize the spine.
A 2010 study in the journal Spine showed that the robotic guidance system can increase the accuracy of spinal implants by as much as 98.3 percent and significantly lower the rates of misplaced screws and subsequent neurological problems.
SpineAssist has two components:
- A computerized work station that allows the surgeon to use images of a patient’s damaged spine to develop a three-dimensional surgical blueprint for the procedure;
- A robotic arm positioned on the spine that guides the surgeon to predetermined points for optimal placement of the implants, particularly in minimally invasive procedures where there is a limited view of the surgical field.
SpineAssist, which can be used for traditional open surgeries, also lessens radiation exposure for the patient, surgeon and entire operating-room team.
Traditionally, dozens of X-rays must be taken during a procedure to ensure that each screw is properly located and doesn’t impinge on nerves or breach the spinal canal. Since the robot is programmed based on scans taken before the operation, the physician can work more quickly, with greater accuracy and fewer X-ray fluoroscope images during the procedure.