Spine Conditions and Treatments

Scoliosis of the Spine 
The majority of individuals with spinal conditions don’t need surgery to get better. When a thorough exam and diagnosis has been made, we work with you to utilize non-operative solutions including therapeutic exercise, injection therapy and medications. Read more about Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Rehabilitation Services for spinal conditions.

If you need surgery, UC San Diego Health has the experience and expertise to treat your spine condition in the least invasive way possible. 

During an outpatient procedure using advanced microsurgical techniques, UC San Diego spine surgeons are changing how back and neck pain is treated.

Preserve motion and muscle, and get on your feet faster with minimally invasive spine surgery.


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Scoliosis is an abnormal (side-to-side) curvature of the spine. Kyphosis is a curving of the spine that causes a bowing or rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture.

Minimally Invasive treatments for scoliosis and kyphosis:

  • Complex minimally invasive surgery with lateral approach
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion
  • ALL resection and kyphotic correction
  • Percutaneous posterior pedicle screw fixation
  • Minimally invasive surgical corpectomy 
  • Smith-Petersen osteotomy
  • Pedicle subtraction osteotomy 

Herniated lumbar disc

A herniated disc is a tear in the disc ring between two vertebrae that allows soft tissue to bulge out. Also known as a "slipped" or ruptured disc.

Minimally invasive treatments for lumbar herniated disc:

  • Endoscopic discectomy
  • Microendoscopic discectomy
  • Laser discectomy

Minimally invasive treatments for cervical herniated disc:

  • Posterior cervical microforaminotomy (PCMF)
  • Anterior cervical discectomy
  • Artificial cervical disc replacement or total disc replacement (TDR)

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease is chronic pain due to degeneration of the intervertebral discs. 

Minimally invasive degenerative disc disease treatments of the lumbar and thoracic spine:

  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
  • Mini ALIF
  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF) 
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS)
  • Thoracotomy

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal causing irritation of the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. Spinal stenosis can occur in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine.

Minimally invasive spinal stenosis treatments:

  • Laminectomy
  • Laminotomy 


Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a bone (vertebra) in the spine slips out of the proper position onto the bone below it. 

Minimally invasive spondylolisthesis treatments: 

  • Transforminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)

Osteoporosis and spine fractures

Osteoporosis frequently results in compression fractures caused by degeneration of the spine. Spine fractures are also caused by traumatic injury. Fractures can occur in the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine.

Minimally invasive lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine fracture treatment:

  • Kyphoplasty

Spine tumors

  • Vertebral hemangiomas - a benign tumor made of abnormal build-up of blood vessels near the spine
  • Schwannomas – benign nerve sheath tumors made up of Schwann cells 
  • Neurofibromas – benign nerve sheath tumors made up of many different cell types
  • Gliomas – tumors of the glial cells in the nervous system (including astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, ependymoma and ganglioglioma)
  • Chordomas – rare, cancerous slow-growing tumors that can occur anywhere along the spine
  • Spinal chondrosarcomas – primary cancerous bone tumors of the spine

Spine tumor treatments

  • Minimally invasive resection

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