Spine Procedures and Conditions We Treat

If you or a loved one is dealing with a painful spine condition, you’re probably going through a range of emotions, from confusion and fear to anger, wondering if there’s a solution in sight. And we can empathize. Our teams know exactly what you’re going through, what information you need to ease your concerns, and how to help you decide on the treatment plan that’s right for you, whether it involves surgery or not.

See Some of the Conditions We Treat

  • Spinal Tumor

    What is a spinal tumor?

    A spinal tumor is an abnormal mass of tissue that grows around part of the vertebrae/spine, spinal cord, or nerves. Either benign or malignant (cancerous), they can originate in the vertebra (primary) or travel to the spinal area from another area of the body (metastatic). 


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating spinal tumors?

    Only the most experienced neurosurgery centers in the world will treat spinal tumors. Our physicians are not only some of the best-trained neurosurgeons in the field, but they also provide training and consultation to residents and peers from more than 48 countries. In addition, our team established the first neurosurgical fellowship in the U.S.


    What are the most common types of treatments for spinal tumors?

    If a tumor is benign and not growing rapidly or causing pain, simply monitoring the tumor may be the best course of action. However, if a tumor is cancerous or causing harmful symptoms, treatment can include expert surgical removal of the tumor. Additionally, we can treat spine tumors non-surgically, with stereotactic methods such as CyberKnife® and radiation.


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  • Scoliosis

    What is scoliosis?

    Scoliosis is an abnormal curve of the spine. It can happen in young children as they are growing, and if left untreated, can become incredibly painful and often times debilitating. Scoliosis also occurs in older patients, due to arthritis or muscle and tissue degeneration.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating scoliosis?

    Surprisingly, 1 in 100 people have some form of scoliosis, however slight. Because of the relatively common occurrence, our Barrow team is exceptionally equipped to diagnose, treat and monitor scoliosis cases, both in children and adults.


    What are the most common types of treatments for scoliosis?

    This depends on the degree of the curvature. A small curvature may just require observation. For children, a brace is often used to correct the deformity as the bones continue to grow. In extreme cases, a spinal fusion surgery may be required.


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  • Spinal Stenosis

    What is spinal stenosis?

    Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal, constricting the nerves and spinal cord within.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating spinal stenosis?

    Spinal stenosis affects more than 11% of the U.S. population. Each year, we treat thousands of patients that suffer from this painful condition, both conservatively and surgically.


    What are the most common types of treatments for spinal stenosis?

    Treatments depend on the severity of the case. Whenever possible, we begin with nonsurgical treatments such as pain management and physical therapy. If surgery is deemed the best option, our team employs spinal decompression to create more space for the nerves to relieve pain and/or weakness.


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  • Spondylolisthesis

    What is spondylolisthesis?

    Spondylolisthesis refers to the slippage of a vertebra, either forward or backward, in relation to the vertebra above and below it. Patients suffering from spondylolisthesis often experience symptoms that gain in severity over time, leading to severe pain that limits the ability to live a full and active life.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating spondylolisthesis?

    We are one of the most experienced teams in the country in treating spondylolisthesis, and we have developed numerous minimally invasive devices to return our patients to their lives sooner, with less pain.


    What are the most common types of treatments for spondylolisthesis?

    In most instances, pain management is deemed the most suitable treatment. This can include physical therapy, medications, steroid injections, chiropractic therapy and hot/cold therapy. However, in more severe cases, spinal fusion surgery is recommended, although this is often a final option, as the recovery time can be extensive.


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  • Sciatica/Disc Herniation

    What is sciatica/disc herniation?
    Sciatica is a term that refers to the pain that you feel in your back and legs, usually from degenerative disc disease. Disc herniation refers to a gelatinous portion of the disc which can herniate or expel and compress neural structures, causing pain, weakness, numbness, and incontinence. This can progress to become a neurosurgical emergency in some cases.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating sciatica/disc herniation?
    Our Barrow Brain and Spine team is one of the most experienced teams in the Southwest when it comes to surgically treating this condition. Our patients are routinely discharged in the same day, due to the minimally invasive procedures we’ve developed right here at Barrow.


    What are the most common types of treatments for sciatica/disc herniation?

    Depending on the anatomic problem, sciatica/disc herniation can often be treated with a simple, minimally invasive decompression, as opposed to a decompression with fusion, which is only required if the pathology is more complex. Our expertise in both minimally invasive techniques, as well as our experience with spinal decompression and fusion techniques set us apart from other spinal programs.

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  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

    What is Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

    Failed back surgery refers to the persistence of significant back pain or leg pain despite having already had back or spine surgery. There are several potential reasons for failed back syndrome. Sometimes, you may need a spinal fusion in addition to nerve decompression. Other times, the pain could be generated from other sources other than the spine.


    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

    Our Barrow Team members are specialized experts at diagnosing and treating the underlying cause for failed back surgery. Many revision spinal surgeries are performed on a daily or weekly basis to fix failed back surgery.


    What are the most common types of treatments for Failed Back Surgery Syndrome?

    The first step is diagnosing the underlying reason for failed back surgery. If the pain is not originated from the spine, we may be able to address the condition conservatively. Revision spinal surgery is commonly performed after thorough discussion with your treating neurosurgeon, with a strong focus on establishing realistic goals and expectations. For patients with failed back surgery due to damaged nerves, spinal cord stimulation may be a viable approach.


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See Some of the Procedures We Offer

  • Spinal Fusion

    What is spinal fusion?

    Spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that fuses two or more vertebrae together, causing them to grow together. We address fractures, scoliosis and back pain with this procedure.


    How experienced is the team with spinal fusion?

    Our Barrow team averages  approximately 2,500 spinal fusion surgeries each year. Some widely adopted spinal fusion techniques were developed here by Barrow Brain and Spine neurosurgeons.


    What is the estimated recovery time?

    Spinal fusion requires approximately 3 to 12 months of healing time. During this time, your neurosurgeon may restrict your activities to ensure your back has the time it needs to fully heal.


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  • Spinal Decompression

    What is spinal decompression?
    Spinal decompression involves alleviating pain and/or numbness by removing bone or portions of disc material that may be compressing the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. Examples of these procedures include laminectomy (removal of the back of one or more vertebrae) and microdiscectomy (removal of a portion of the bone to give nerves more room to heal).


    How experienced is the team with spinal decompression?
    The majority of procedures performed at Barrow involve spinal decompression. These procedures, in all their forms, are very common when dealing with spinal stenosis, disc herniations, and other pressure/pain conditions. Our team has pioneered many of these procedures, which are now adopted by centers around the world.


    What is the estimated recovery time?
    Recovery time is dependent on the number of spinal levels that need to be decompressed. If surgery is recommended, recovery time is typically 2 weeks to 6 weeks. You and your neurosurgeon will discuss your plan and exact treatment together.


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  • Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgery

    What is minimally-invasive spine surgery?
    Minimally-invasive spine surgery (or MISS for short) provides us the necessary tools to conduct sensitive surgeries with smaller incisions and less tissue trauma. This leads to less postoperative pain and faster recovery times for patients.


    How experienced is the team with minimally-invasive spine surgery?
    More precision, faster recovery — these are hallmarks of surgical innovations, and we’re dedicated to bringing the latest and most advanced techniques to our patients whenever possible. MISS procedures make up around 50% of our treatment plans as not all patients are candidates for minimally invasive procedures. Rest assured, we will choose the best surgical option for you.


    What is the estimated recovery time?

    The spine is a sensitive area of the body; depending on the type of spinal disease and type of MISS required, recovery times can range from 1 week to 6 weeks. However, due to the minimally-invasive nature of these treatments, recovery time is considerably shorter than other procedures. Make sure to consult your physician for your specific treatment and recovery plan.


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  • Image-Guided Spine Surgery

    What is image-guided spine surgery?

    Image-guided spine surgery utilizes CT scanning during the surgery to guide the placement of surgical hardware in real time. This approach allows increased precision in surgical planning and hardware placement, improving outcomes as well as surgical safety for the patient.


    How experienced is the team with image-guided spine surgery?

    Image guidance during spinal procedures is a very common and necessary approach for us. It enables our team to have an even more precise look at the problem — we feel extremely comfortable using it.


    What is the estimated recovery time?

    This depends largely on the scope of your procedure — whether it’s one-level fusion or multiple-level scoliosis surgery. Your neurosurgeon will work closely with you to help you understand what’s entailed in your procedure so you can plan your recovery in advance.


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  • Total Disc Replacement

    What is total disc replacement?

    Total disc replacement (TDR) is an alternative solution to spinal fusion. The procedure includes the complete removal of an affected disc in the vertebrae, followed by placement of an artificial disc (often made from metal and biomedical grade plastics). Good candidates for TDR include young, active patients, as well as candidates that have “soft” disc herniation.


    How experienced is the team with total disc replacement?

    Barrow neurosurgeons were the first in Arizona to place the newest generation devices, providing patients access to the most current technology available.


    What is the estimated recovery time?

    Recovery times for TDR patients vary, however, most times, those who undergo this procedure are able to return to work significantly sooner due to the use of non-fusion techniques.


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  • Spinal Cord Stimulation

    What is spinal cord stimulation?
    Spinal cord stimulation is used when patients feel pain, but there is not a clear cause that can be treated directly. Rather that directly addressing the cause of the pain through disc herniation removal, spinal cord stimulation therapy consists of sending electrical impulses into the spinal cord to interfere with the conscious perception of pain. The operation involves placing electrodes into the epidural space, over the spinal cord and within the spinal canal, and connecting these electrodes to a pacemaker that is also surgically implanted.


    Prior to proceeding with permanent implantation, patients who are considering this therapy undergo a spinal cord stimulation trial, whereby small electrodes are passed via a needle through the skin into the spinal canal, similar to an epidural procedure. Through this less invasive approach, patients can “test drive” the therapy to make sure it is right for them.


    How experienced is the team with spinal cord stimulation?
    Spinal cord stimulation is an FDA-approved therapy for pain. However, as with any neurosurgical procedure, there are risks. Our team performs this procedure often, and has a high level of expertise in this area. We collaborate with pain doctors within the group as well as throughout the valley who perform spinal cord stimulation trials.


    What is the estimated recovery time?
    Because this is an outpatient procedure, most patients go home the same day. However, given that this is an operation performed on patients with chronic pain, postoperative pain can be significant, necessitating hospital admittance and observation following surgery for pain control. To minimize the risk of postoperative node displacement, patients should avoid twisting, turning, or bending for about 6 weeks.


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  • Spinal Radiosurgery (CyberKnife®)

    What is spinal radiosurgery?

    Spinal Radiosurgery includes CyberKnife® procedures. This approach uses image-guided robotics to direct precise radiation to affected areas of the spine, eliminating the need for more invasive surgeries.


    How experienced is the team with spinal radiosurgery?

    Barrow is significantly advanced in radiation technology. With our team of experienced spine surgeons and radiation oncologists, we’ve led and evolved this state-of-the-art procedure.


    What is the estimated recovery time?

    Recovery time varies from patient to patient, but because of the minimally-invasive nature of the procedure, most patients return home the same day and can expect a recovery time of one week.


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Don't See Your Condition or Procedure?

The conditions and procedures listed on this page only represent a small portion of what we treat. If you don't see the specific condition you're looking for, please contact our Patient Navigator for additional information.

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Hear from Past Barrow Spine Patients

We have more than 8,000 opportunities each year to turn seemingly insurmountable odds into miraculous stories of strength, hope, and most importantly, success. Take a look at some of the people we’ve been privileged to help.

Thank You for the Personalized Physical Therapy! (A Note from Patient Hal S.)

Patient Hal H. Sacks reached out to the team at Barrow Brain and Spine’s NeuroSpine & Rehabilitation Center of Phoenix recently to express his gratitude following the personalized physical therapy he received following a surgery to correct spinal stenosis. Read more below… Over the past six months, I have been an outpatient at Barrow’s NeuroSpine & […]

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Barrow Neurosurgeon Dr. Fusco Shares Tips For Optimal Spine Health on Sonoran Living TV

Barrow Brain and Spine Neurosurgeon Dr. David Fusco, MD, stopped by the Sonoran Living ABC 15 TV studios during National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.  Dr. Fusco treats patients with common to complex spinal degenerative conditions out of Barrow Brain and Spine’s Chandler practice. During the segment, he shared key tips on preventing back pain […]

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As a Barrow patient, you can feel confident we’ll exhaust every avenue to arrive at a proper diagnosis and treatment plan customized specifically for you. Request a Surgical Evaluation online and our Patient Navigator will guide you through the next steps. *Please know that we prefer reviewing your imaging and medical records before your first appointment to give you the best patient care and treatment options.

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