Enhancing Spine Health with

Lumbar Spine Surgery

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our approach

What is Lumbar Spine Surgery?

Lumbar (or low back) pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit the doctor. It is most commonly the result of muscle or ligament injury or irritation. Other common causes of low back pain are arthritis or a disc herniation. A disc is a shock absorbing structure in the spine that consists of a sturdy outer ring of tissue called the annulus fibrosus with an inner core of jelly-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. A disc herniation occurs when this jelly-like substance herniates through the outer annulus. Less commonly, back pain can be due to trauma, infection, or tumor.

Conditions we treat

Lumbar radiculopathy / Neurogenic Claudication

Lumbar radiculopathy is thigh, leg, or foot pain, numbness, or tingling that is the result of a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine. Nerves are the electrical wires of the body that allow our brain to send and receive messages to and from various areas in our body. The nerves that originate in our lumbar spine allow us to feel and control our legs. Therefore, pinching of nerves can also lead to weakness in legs or feet. Arthritis or a disc herniation are common causes of a pinched nerve, or lumbar radiculopathy.

Neurogenic claudication is a condition that typically causes leg pain, numbness, and even a feeling of heaviness that is typically worse when walking upright and better when sitting or leaning forward. It may affect one or both legs. It results from a large number of nerves being pinched from arthritis or a disc herniation in the lumbar spine.

Cauda equina syndrome

Cauda equina syndrome is a more serious condition that results when all of the nerves in the lumbar spine are being pinched. Most often, this happens in the setting of more advanced arthritis or an acute (or sudden) disc herniation. The nerves in the lumbar spine (low back) control our legs as well as our bowel and bladder function. Therefore, in addition to leg pain numbness or weakness, individuals with cauda equina syndrome may lose the bowel or bladder control. If you think you have cauda equina syndrome, please seek immediate medical attention.

Cervical radiculopathy is arm, forearm, or hand pain, numbness, or tingling that is the result of a pinched nerve in the neck. Nerves are like the electrical wires of the body that allow our brain to send and receive messages to and from various areas in our body.

Other Conditions that can be treated with
Lumbar Spine Surgery






Treatments we provide

Lumbar microdiscectomy

A lumbar microdiscectomy involves the removal of the disc herniation and any loose disc material. This is typically performed through a minimally invasive approach with use of a microscope.

Lumbar decompression

In the lumbar spine, a decompression (or un-pinching) of nerves can oftentimes be performed without fusion. This typically involves the removal of bone and/or thickened ligament that are pinching the nerves. It is typically performed from a posterior (from the back) approach.

Lumbar fusion

A lumbar fusion is often performed to treat nerve pinching and low back pain that results from arthritis. During the surgery, the nerves are un-pinched, and the arthritic segments are fused together to prevent painful motion. While this is most commonly performed through a posterior (from the back) approach, this may also be performed through an anterior (from the front) approach, or lateral (from the side) approach. In some cases, a combination of approaches is required to best address the problem.

Extremity-related issues

There are numerous causes of thigh, leg, and foot pain that may in fact may seem related to a pinched nerve in the low back but in fact, are not. Arthritis, tendon issues, and/or nerve issues, in the hip, knee, ankle, or foot may easily be confused for lumbar radiculopathy. Vice versa, a pinched nerve in the lower back can cause pain that may be confused for a thigh, leg, or foot problem. Commonly, you can have both a spine and an extremity-related problem. The body is complex! As an orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Chung also has extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of all extremity-related issues as well and will ensure that you’re receiving the right treatment for your problem.

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from the expert

A word from Dr. Chung

Any of the above procedures can be performed through a micro-invasive approach in the right situation. Micro-invasive surgery involves the use of a much smaller incision(s) and microsurgical techniques to minimize your post-operative pain, risk of complications, and quickens your recovery --- allowing you to get back to your normal life more quickly.

Trained in the latest micro-invasive and motion-preserving techniques, Dr. Chung can help you figure out how to best address your pain through the least invasive approach possible and get you back on track to living a better life.