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Spine Surgery in Jackson Hole

Skilled Back & Spine Surgeons in Jackson

Nearly every part of your body relies on your spine for support, which naturally puts a lot of strain on the back. People find themselves bending over, lifting heavy objects, slouching, and sitting far more than our bodies ever expected to, and as a result back pain is one of the leading causes of disability in the world.

While our bodies may not have yet caught up with our modern lifestyle, medical research is continuously closing the gap. A plethora of spinal surgeries are now available to treat numerous back conditions. St. John’s Health has stayed up to date on the latest operations and safety measures so that we can provide you with innovative procedures that require less invasive techniques.

Anxious about an impending spinal surgery? Feel free to call us at 307.739.6199 or 888.739.7499 with any questions or concerns.

Cervical Surgical Procedures

The cervical spine describes the bones that make up your neck. This is one of the most important parts of your body, and a surprisingly durable one. Like any part of the body, it can get damaged, and when it does, spinal surgery may be your best option to alleviate pain and protect your neck.

Cervical Disc Replacement

Your spine consists of several thin, round pieces of cartilage called intervertebral discs. These discs act as padding so that you can flex and stretch your back without pain. Over time these discs wear down, and the result is aches and pains that make it difficult to move. When discs in the cervical spine get damaged, it can result in severe pain to the neck, arm, and shoulder. Cervical disc replacement surgery may be necessary to correct this issue.

Disc replacement is usually recommended for patients that:

  • Are under 65 years old
  • Experience frequent pain or numbness in the neck and arms
  • Have bones in good condition
  • Are clear of, or have only minimal signs of, osteoporosis

In disc replacement, the damaged disc is replaced with an artificial replacement. To access the area, the surgeon need only make a small incision near the affected area and operate. The artificial replacement is designed for flexibility so patients can enjoy a full range of motion after their recovery.

Cervical Discectomy & Fusion

Your spine is home to countless nerve endings. Wear and tear on the spine can exert pressure on these nerves and result in pain and irritation. If you are not a candidate for disc replacement, a doctor may recommend a discectomy, in which the damaged disc is removed and the space in between the vertebrae is fused together. Though this procedure causes a slight decrease in flexibility, it helps alleviate serious neck and arm pain.

Lumbar Surgical Procedures

The lower area of your back is called the lumbar spine, and it is one of the most common problem areas for people worldwide. Lower back pain strikes at the most inconvenient times and can be very hard to avoid once it becomes a chronic condition. When physical therapy and medication fail to treat the problem, it’s time to consider surgery.

Lumbar Micro Discectomy

Like the cervical spine, the lumbar spine is lined with several discs that can get damaged, a condition commonly referred to as a slipped disc. Micro discectomy is a minimally invasive spinal surgery where a small incision is made and the damaged part of the disc is removed. This technique is ideal in that it spares the bones, muscles, and ligaments in the lower back from excessive strain and allows for a faster recovery.

Surgery is not often required for slipped lumbar discs. Typically the problem can be fixed with basic care measures, and surgery is only recommended when the pain from the pinched nerve radiates down to the legs in a condition called sciatica.

Lumbar Laminectomy/Decompression

Each vertebra on your spine contains structures called lamina. These structures act as a roof for the spinal canal and protect the vertebrae from damage. Unfortunately, the inner part of the spine can be damaged despite the lamina’s protection, and then the structure becomes an obstacle separating a surgeon from the area that needs treatment. Laminectomies are procedures that remove the lamina so surgeons can treat the damaged part of the spine.

Lumbar laminectomy may be required for patients that:

  • Suffer chronic back pain
  • Have a narrowed spinal canal (spinal stenosis)
  • Suffer pain and numbness in the legs
  • Have a slipped disc

Lumbar Fusion

A great many spine problems can be remedied by fusing two vertebrae together and preventing pressure from exerting on damaged nerves. There are several ways to perform a lumbar fusion, and you can talk with our team to determine which method will be best for your condition.

Lumbar fusion is often used to treat:

  • Sciatica – An irritation of the spinal nerves from a bulging or slipped disc.
  • Spondylolisthesis – An abnormal spine movement where vertebrae slip on top of each other and damage the spinal nerves.
  • Degenerative Disc Disease – When discs have sustained such significant damage that the spine becomes unstable and radiates pain throughout the lower back and legs.
  • Arthritis – Spinal arthritis often results in spinal stenosis, a condition that causes the spinal canal to narrow and exert pressure on nerves and nerve roots.

Lateral Access Surgery

Medical researchers are always looking for ways to make surgery easier on patients. One of their most significant breakthroughs has been lateral access surgery (LAS). This minimally invasive procedure takes a new, safer approach to spinal fusion. Rather than cutting into the body from the back or the front to reach the spine, LAS makes incisions in the side of the body, putting less stress on nerves, muscles, and blood vessels. As a result, patients need less anesthesia, experience a faster recovery, and lose less blood during the operation.

At St. John’s Health, we make use of the extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF®) procedure, a proven surgical technique that does not cut into back muscles, bone, or ligaments. Though advantageous in many ways, XLIF is not right for all patients. Discuss the spinal surgery options with your doctor to determine if this method will be the best route for your operation.


Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive spinal surgery used to treat compression fractures. The procedure involves inserting a balloon into the collapsed vertebra. A special material is injected into the balloon that hardens and keeps the damaged vertebra stable. This innovative treatment is relatively simple, and does not require a long recovery time. Most patients resume their normal activities almost immediately after the operation.

Non-Surgical Spine Treatment

Spinal surgery is usually a last resort for treating back and spine problems. In most cases, these issues can be treated with non-invasive medical measures, or even just a period of rest. It is only when these methods fail that doctors start exploring surgery with patients.

Non-surgical back pain relief treatments include:

  • Lifestyle Changes – After hearing about your situation, your doctor may ask about your job, hobbies, and sleeping situation. In many cases, back pain will go away on its own by avoiding certain activities or switching up how you perform certain motions. Even sleeping on a better pillow can offer relief.
  • Physical Therapy During physical therapy patients learn back and neck exercises specifically designed to alleviate their pain. This program is done under the supervision of a trained physical therapist who will track your progress and work with your doctor to determine whether or not exercise will be enough to correct the issue.
  • Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI) – In this treatment doctors inject a blend of steroid and anesthesia into the damaged area. The anesthesia will provide relief from the pain while the steroid reduces nerve inflammation. This is not a permanent treatment, but one that can provide much needed relief while you undergo physical therapy.
  • Facet Joint Injections – Small facet joints are located in between your vertebrae along the back of the spine. Injections in these joints can reduce inflammation and help doctors determine the source of your back pain. In some cases, these injections provide long term-relief.

Connect with former spine surgery patients who want to share their experiences with you. Learn more and find a patient ambassador at

Wondering What’s Right for You?

There are several options for back pain relief, and it can be hard to determine which one will best treat your condition. At St. John’s Health, our team will educate you on your condition and how various treatments may affect it. Working with our knowledge of effective treatments and your goals and concerns, together we can come up with a solution that best remedies the situation.

Please call us at 307.739.6199 or 888.739.7499 to ask any questions about spinal surgery and back pain treatment.

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