Spinal Surgery Glossary
A drug that alleviates pain without causing loss of consciousness.
A drug that blocks pain impulses from nerves. With general anesthesia you are
unconscious, or asleep. With conscious sedation, your tissues are ‘numbed’ with
local anesthesia and you are heavily sedated.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy (ACD)
For extensive osteophytes (bone spurs) with or without disc protrusions,
this operation is reserved for only those patients that have large
bone spurs and no x-ray evidence of instability.
Anterior Cervical Fusion (ACF)
For an unstable cervical spine, this operation should be reserved
only for those patients who have documented evidence of instability,
ie., spondylolisthesis or subluxations, documented by flexion-extension
x-rays or other radiologic studies.
An annulus is the outer portion of a disc in the spinal
column, which provides structure and strength to a disc. The annulus
is comprised of a complex series of interwoven layers of fibrous
tissues which hold the nucleus in place.
An abnormality in an image resulting in distortion and
A computerized x-ray which provides cross-sectional images
of the spine. Sometimes this procedure follows a myelogram or discogram.
Cauda equina syndrome
The cauda equina is a bundle of nerves at the bottom of
the spinal cord. Cauda equina syndrome is severe compression of the
cauda equina resulting in loss of bowel or bladder function, loss
of sensation in the buttocks and groin, and weakness in the legs.
Pertaining to the neck.
Cervical Endoscopic Discectomy (CED)
For cervical herniated/protruded disc problems, CED is an outpatient
surgical procedure to remove
herniated disc material.
Cervical Endoscopic Discectomy/Anterior Cervical Discectomy
for multilevel disc protrusions and bone spurs
This procedure is for patients with disc protrusions and bone spurs
at multiple levels. Please see the CED
and ACD descriptions for further
A method of relieving pain, consisting of bed rest, analgesics,
chiropractic and/or physical the rapy.
A medicine that reduces swelling, or inflammation.
Undergoing degeneration: growing less healthy over time.
Discs are the structures which serve as shock absorbers between the vertebrae
of the spinal column. The center of the disc is called the nucleus, and the
outer ring of the disc is called the annulus.
A procedure in which an iodine "dye" is injected into a disc, x-rays
are taken, and the patient's pain response is monitored. This is
performed using conscious sedation and local anesthesia.
Bending backward, standing upright.
Surfaces where two vertebrae meet and articulate (move) forming a joint.
An operation to remove part of the facet. To prevent a degenerated facet from
pinching a nerve.
Bending forward, or sitting.
A natural opening or passage in bone for nerves and
An operation to make the foramen larger. To provide more space for the nerves
and blood vessels.
The growing of bone where bone does not normally exist, ie., replacing
a disc with a bone graft. The graft is normally taken from the patient
or a donor.
Herniated Disc Click
Here for Illustration
Sometimes referred to as a slipped disc. The condition in which nuclear tissue
is forced from the center of a disc into the spinal canal. Herniated discs cause
pain in the low back and leg or the neck and arm because they create pressure
against one or more of the spinal nerves. Other names for herniated discs are
prolapsed and ruptured.
Spinal ligament that extends from one spinous process to the other.
Interspinous Process Decompression (IPD®)
An operation in which an implant, called the X-STOP, is placed between your spinous
The space between the spinous processes of the vertebrae.
Tissue found between the bones of the spinal column, called vertebrae. The discs
help cushion the spine from stress during everyday activities (i.e., walking,
bending, sitting, etc.).
A part of a vertebra. For each vertebra, two lamina connect the pedicles to the
spinous processes — forming the roof of the spinal canal.
A surgical technique in which a portion of the back of the vertebra
is removed in order to gain access to the nerves and discs. The
disc may or may not be removed as part of the procedure.
An operation to remove part of the lamina. This is done to allow more room for
the spinal cord and nerves.
A band of tissue linking two bones in a joint.
Pertaining to the low back.
Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy (LED/TA)
An outpatient, minimally-invasive suction and shaver endoscopic
procedure to remove the herniated portion of a desk. Afterward,
the disc is heated to repair the annulus.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
A degenerative spinal disease that causes narrowing of the spinal canal. This
narrowing pinches the nerves and causes pain symptoms.
A surgical technique for disc removal through a small opening using
A computerized magnet which provides cross-sectional images of the
A diagnostic procedure in which an iodine "dye" is injected into the spinal canal
and x-rays are taken.
Fibers containing nerve cells that send messages between the spinal cord and
the rest of the body.
Pressure on a nerve; may cause nerve damage and muscle weakness.
The start of the nerve as it leaves the spinal cord (and passes through the foramen).
The nucleus is the center of a disc and is made of a soft, spongy
material that accepts the shock of standing, walking, running, etc.
A bony outgrowth on the edge of a vertebra, also known as a bone spur.
A part of a vertebra. It connects the lamina with the vertebral body.
The lower portion of the spinal column.
The lower back and leg pain caused by a herniated disc, etc.
The bony channel that contains the spinal cord.
A bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the
A part of the vertebra. A spinous process protrudes from each vertebra. The spinous
processes create the “bumps” you feel in the middle of your back.
Narrowing of the spinal canal.
Spinal ligament that passes over and attaches to the tips of the spinous processes.
A condition in which one vertebra slips forward in relation to the vetebra below
A bony building block of the spinal column.
A test that uses radiation to produce pictures of the inside of the body.
A titanium implant that fits between the spinous processes.