The spine gives our bodies the stability and strength to stand up and move around. The bones of the spinal vertebrae protect our spinal cord from damage. Therefore, any problem with the spine or the vertebrae can cause severe pain, complications, and inconvenience. When you consult a doctor, reporting back pain or discomfort, you will undergo examination and testing to determine your spine condition.

The doctor can recommend rest, medication, or physical therapy, depending on your condition. However, if these forms of treatment are not working to relieve your symptoms, you may need spine surgery to correct the problem. Common conditions that mandate orthopedic spine surgery include spinal stenosis, disc problems, and back pain. Degenerative disc disorder and herniated disc, among others.

A complication with your spine can be detrimental to your overall health and well-being. Therefore, you must ensure that a qualified and experienced surgeon handles your Orthopaedic spine surgery in Los Angeles, CA. At Dr. Rappard's Clinic, we offer expert spine surgery services to all our clients.

Types of Orthopaedic Spine surgery in Los Angeles

Depending on your specific spine condition, your doctor can recommend any of the following steps of spine surgery:


When a damaged spinal disc enters the spinal canal, you could experience extreme pain and discomfort. A discectomy is a procedure that involves removing the damaged disc. Standard discectomy procedures are:

  • Percutaneous discectomy. This procedure involves removing the only part of the disc that causes discomfort.
  • Microsurgical discectomy. With this type of surgery, the surgeon will make small incisions and be guided by an X-ray tube to remove the damaged disc.
  • Lumbar discectomy. This is a procedure done to remove the damaged disc on the lower part of the spinal cord.
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Orthopedic surgeons perform this procedure to remove damaged or degenerative discs in the neck.


A laminectomy is a procedure that removes the lamina and relieves pressure on a pinched nerve root. A surgeon will recommend you undergo laminectomy to alleviate pain caused by spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and other conditions that cause pressure on the spinal nerve. The lamina is a bony structure on each part of the vertebra that protects the spinal canal.

During a laminectomy, the surgeon makes an incision on your back, moves the muscles around the lamina, and removes the bony part. Sometimes, trimming of the facets around the nerve roots may be removed to give more room for the nerve and avoid compression. Up to 90% of individuals who undergo laminectomy experience significant relief from pain and discomfort.


Facet joints connect the spinal bones. Each spinal vertebra is supported by four facets, with two facing each side. The nerves going to your arms move through the facets. The joints allow you to bend and twist your body. Over time, the facets could be misaligned, causing them to pinch the nerves.

Interference with your nerves can cause discomfort and pain. A facetectomy removes the facets that cause pressure on the nerves.


Surgeons perform this type of surgery alongside a facetectomy. This helps relieve the pressure on spinal nerves leaving your spinal cord through the neuroforamina. Narrowing of the neuroforamina prevents the nerves from passing through properly.

During a foraminotomy, your spine surgeon will check the foramina to determine the exact cause of the blockage. This could be fragments from a damaged disc or bone material. The surgery involves the removal of this material to prevent further nerve pressure.

Spinal Fusion

A spinal fusion is performed to join multiple vertebrae and avoid movement permanently. Before fusing the bones, the surgeon will roughen one side of each bone and place a graft between them. You will benefit from spinal fusion if you have degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis.

Indications for Orthopaedic Spine Surgery in Los Angeles

Not all back pain or discomfort incidents are treated with surgery. Sometimes, your body needs rest, a good diet, and physical therapy for a back condition. After exploring all available options, your surgeon could recommend spine surgery for the following conditions:

Spinal Stenosis

Your doctor may diagnose you with spinal stenosis when the spaces between your spinal cord narrow, leaving less room for the spine. As the nerves attempt to move to other parts of the body through the narrow spaces, they are compressed, causing pain and irritation.

Spinal stenosis is commonly caused by osteoarthritis or natural wear and tear. Depending on the severity of your condition, you could experience symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness in the extremities, and general weakness. Spinal stenosis can affect any part of the spinal cord and is common in females over fifty years old.

In addition to osteoarthritis, the following factors could contribute to the development of spinal stenosis:

  • Bulging disc. Spinal discs are round cushioning pads that absorb shock along your spine. The discs may dry out as you age, causing them to crack and break. The bulging discs press onto the nerves around the disc.
  • Thickened ligaments. Ligaments are the bands that hold your spinal cord in the correct position. When the ligaments thicken from arthritis, they could bulge into the spinal canal.
  • Congenital spinal stenosis. Some people are born with a narrow spinal canal, which could put them at risk of spinal stenosis.
  • Spinal injuries and fractures. Inflammation and fracture of bones around the spine can cause spinal canal narrowing, which puts excessive pressure on the nerves.

If your back pain arises from spinal stenosis, you may need surgery to remove the fragments or correct the narrowing of your spinal canal.

Herniated Disc

A herniated or bulging disc is a prevalent cause of back, neck, and leg pain. Your spinal cord has a series of bones known as the vertebrae, stretching from your skull to the tailbone. Between the vertebrae are discs that cushion the spinal cord from shock. Wear or tear of one of these discs raises a condition known as a herniated disc.

The following factors increase your risk of developing a herniated disc:

  • Sitting for prolonged periods
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Being overweight or obese
  • A repetitive motion that involves bending and twisting your body

If you experience the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a herniated disc:

  • Neck, leg, back, and shoulder pain does not go away even with rest.
  • Pain that increases when you bend
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs

Given your symptoms, it is not easy to tell you that you should have a herniated disc. Therefore, your surgeon must perform an X-ray or MRI to diagnose the condition and determine the level of damage. If there is no way for your spinal cord to heal naturally and the pain recurs, your surgeon could recommend surgery to remove the damaged disc.

Degenerative Disc Disorder

You could suffer from degenerative disc disease when the cushioning in your spine wears away. The discs are rubbery parts that help you bend and move without damaging the spine. When the cushions are damaged, the bones begin to rub together. This contact will cause pain and discomfort and may also be a risk factor for conditions like spinal stenosis and a herniated disc.

When you hit forty, you are at a higher risk of developing this spine condition. Common symptoms that could indicate that you have degenerative disc disorder include:

  • Pain that does not go away for weeks or months
  • Numbing and a tingling sensation on the legs and arms
  • Pain that radiates to your lower back.
  • Discomfort, which worsens when you sit or bend.

When the symptoms of degenerative disc disorder do not resolve with anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy, you may need surgery.


When the spinal bones slip out of their place onto the vertebrae below them, you could be diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. This condition causes severe pain in the lower back. Often, spondylolisthesis is caused by instability of the spine. The condition could be caused by genetics, fractures to the spine, or wear and tear from natural aging. You may be at increased risk of developing spondylolisthesis if you fall into the following categories:

  • Athletes. Individuals who engage in sports that cause extreme lumbar spine movement could develop spondylolisthesis.
  • Age. As we age, degenerative spine disorders can arise. This weakens your vertebrae, and the risk of slippage of one of the bones is higher.

Back stiffness, muscle spasms, and back pain are the common symptoms of this condition. Often, your doctor will use spinal X-rays, CT scans, and MRI tests to detect spondylolisthesis and determine the correct cause of action. Depending on the seriousness of vertebral slippage, the doctor can recommend rest, medications, and therapy to ease the symptoms of your condition.

When other treatment options are ineffective, surgery may be needed to relieve your pain, stabilize the spine, and restore body function. The benefit of surgery is that the root cause of your symptoms is corrected. When the condition is left untreated, it can cause further complications. Also, prolonged medication use to relieve pain may bring undesirable side effects.

Complications Associated with Orthopaedic Spine Surgery

Like other types of surgery, there is the potential for complications during spine surgery. Seeking the services of an experienced surgeon would minimize the risk. Additionally, it would be best to ask about possible complications before the procedure. Common risks associated with different types of spine surgery include:

Excessive Bleeding

With technological advancement, surgeons use minimally invasive surgical techniques to prevent excessive bleeding during spine surgery. Unfortunately, damage to major blood vessels can cause bleeding. Before the orthopaedic spine surgery in Los Angeles, you must inform the surgeon of any compilations you may have. If you are on blood-thinning medication, stop it at least two weeks before the procedure.

Anesthesia Complications

Depending on the type of spine surgery and its extent, the surgeon can apply local or general anesthesia to prevent pain during the surgery. The risks of anesthesia are not common. However, they are very serious when they occur. Anesthesia-related complications are caused by your body's reaction to medication or issues stemming from other medical conditions.


Your surgeon will administer IV antibiotics and sterilize the surgical site before the surgery. For this reason, the risk of infection is minimized. Infection at a surgical site could be superficial or deep. In this case, common symptoms of infection include:

  • Increased pain at the surgical site
  • Pus oozing from the incision
  • Red and swollen wound
  • Fever and chills after the surgery

Infection after a spine surgery will not only delay the healing of the procedure but can be life-threatening. Therefore, seeking medical care is critical.

Surgery Failure

There is no guarantee that spine surgery will be effective. Therefore, you can undergo a procedure and have the problem recur. This will require you to undergo surgery to correct the problem.

Dural Tear

A dural tear happens when the spinal cord's thin protective layer is damaged during a surgical procedure. While the surgeon can detect the tear and treat it while they move on with the surgery, an untreated dural tear can cause leakage of the spinal fluid.

Find a Los Angeles Spine Surgeon Near Me

Back pain is a common reason people seek medical attention. You could experience spinal complications for multiple reasons. Persistent back pain can affect your work and interrupt your life. Physical trauma, deformities, or degenerative spine disorders cause back pain. For most patients experiencing pain and discomfort from a spinal condition, orthopedic spine surgery is an excellent option to relieve the pain and return to routine activities.

Before undergoing orthopaedic spine surgery in Los Angeles, you must consult a surgeon to be assessed and determine the type of surgery you need. A knowledgeable surgeon will explain the benefits and complications of the procedure to help you make an informed decision. Spine surgery can be very complicated, and complications like bleeding, damage to the spine, and infection are not uncommon.

Consulting a competent surgeon can ensure a favorable outcome and minimize complications. If you or your loved one is a candidate for orthopaedic spine surgery in Los Angeles, CA, you will require the excellent services we offer at Dr. George Rappard's Practice. Contact us today at 424-777-7463 for a consultation and treatment of your spinal cord complications.