The spine (backbone) is composed of 33 interlocking bones called vertebrae that are separated by soft, compressible discs and supported by many different ligaments and muscles. It is divided into five segments: cervical (neck), thoracic (upper and middle back), lumbar (lower back), sacrum (pelvis), and coccyx (tailbone). The vertebral column surrounds the spinal cord which travels within the spinal canal, formed from a central hole within each vertebra. The spinal cord is part of the central nervous system that supplies nerves and receives information from the peripheral nervous system within the body.


Treatment for spondylolisthesis is similar to treatments for other causes of mechanical and compressive back pain. Surgery is necessary only if conservative treatments fail to keep a patient’s pain at a tolerable level. Surgical treatment for spondylolisthesis must address the presence of mechanical and compressive symptoms. Nerve pressure may require surgical decompression, called decompressive laminectomy of the lumbar spine. Patients needing surgery for spinal instability due to spondylolisthesis will typically require lumbar fusion.


Spine deformity correction refers to surgery to correct deformed spine structures due to a number of different conditions. These can include both scoliosis and kyphosis, though the underlying cause of these conditions can range from defects not corrected at birth to injury, trauma and accidents. Deformity correct straightens curved sections of the spine and fuses the vertebrae to ensure further movement does not occur.


Osteoporosis is characterised by thin, fragile bones. Osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures are minimal trauma fractures of the vertebral (spine) bones (vertebrae). They can cause severe pain and disability. Vertebroplasty involves injecting medical-grade cement into a fractured vertebra through a needle inserted into the skin, under light sedation or general anaesthesia. The cement hardens in the bone space to form an internal cast.


Spine surgery is traditionally done as "open surgery," meaning the area being operated on is opened with a long incision to allow the surgeon to view and access the anatomy. In recent years, however, technological advances have allowed more back and neck conditions to be treated with a minimally invasive surgical technique. Because minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), does not involve a long incision, it avoids significant damage to the muscles surrounding the spine. In most cases, this results in less pain after surgery and a faster recovery.
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