Surgical Options

Some conditions can be improved with simple treatments and lifestyle changes. But more complex spinal disorders require surgical intervention from specialists such as those at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Our team approach gives patients access to physicians, surgeons, neurologists, rheumatologists, rehabilitation therapists, psychologists, and social workers to fully meet your spine surgery and pain management needs. UT Southwestern offers a variety of groundbreaking surgical treatments including minimally invasive spine surgery, artificial disc replacement, and stereotactic therapies.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery represents an innovative approach to the surgical treatment of spinal conditions.

Surgeons use endoscopes, which are small, lighted tubes that act as tiny video cameras. The endoscope enters the body through a small incision and gives the surgeon a full view of the body’s interior. Specialized tools can be inserted in the body through more minor incisions, and delicate, precise surgeries can be performed without disturbing adjacent tissues.

For the patient, this means less pain, fewer complications, a faster recovery time, and shorter hospital stays. Some procedures can even be performed as day surgeries, with no overnight stay required. 

Artificial Disc Replacement

Artificial disc replacement is a relatively new option for patients with chronic low back pain, which is often caused by damaged or diseased spinal discs. Individauls with sciatica and pinched nerves can also benefit from artificial disc replacement.

Surgeons traditionally treated these conditions by fusing the bones of the spine together, eliminating the need for cushioning between them. However, this treatment often decreased back flexibility and sometimes led to accelerated degeneration of discs in nearby locations on the spine.

The advanced option of artificial disc replacement takes a different approach, preserving the individual vertebrae and replacing the cushioning disc between them with a safe, effective, artificial structure typically composed of biopolymer components. The result is dramatically reduced levels of pain along with high levels of mobility and flexibility. 

Return to Top

Stereotactic Therapies

UT Southwestern delivers the latest stereotactic therapies to treat spinal tumors. We recently joined the ranks of the best cancer radiotherapy centers in the U.S., offering both the Gamma Knife and CyberKnife technologies.

Spinal radiosurgery is a noninvasive treatment in which high-dose radiation beams are delivered to a tumor or lesion in a concentrated, extremely precise manner. Many beams of radiation – often more than 100 – are directed at the tumor from different directions. Each of these many beams is relatively weak and causes very little damage when entering the patient’s body.

Among UT Southwestern’s technology capabilities are:

Three Varian linear accelerators with capacity for Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) 
Delivers a high dose of radiation to a tumor or lesion through computer targeting.
Accuray CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery System 
A frameless stereotactic system that delivers highly targeted single or multiple (fractionated) radiation treatments to tumors using scores of small X-ray beams in a complex pattern. UT Southwestern is one of only five institutions in the nation using this system.
Leksell Gamma Knife Radiosurgery System 
Administers a high radiation dose to the diseased area, minimizing the risk of damaging healthy tissue. The system uses separate beams of Cobalt-60 irradiation to target abnormal tissues and is extremely precise and well-suited for the treatment of vascular malformations, benign tumors, metastases, and other malignant tumors, as well as functional disorders, such as trigeminal neuralgia.

Return to Top