Stabilization in Spine Surgery

The Role of Posterior Fixation: Plates, Rods, and Screws

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Facet Screws
Your facet joints are located at the back of your spine and link your vertebrae. As all joints do, they help to facilitate movement.

Each vertebra has 2 sets of facet joints. One pair is superior (faces upward) and one pair is inferior (faces downward).

Facet screws are similar to pedicle screws, but they're smaller and rods aren't typically used to connect them. A procedure that involves facet screws is faster and less invasive than a procedure with pedicle screws. However, the drawback is that they're less stable than pedicle screws.

The image below shows the location of facet joints and pedicles.

Facet Joints and Pedicles

Facet screws are used during facet fusion, which means that bone graft works with the screws to provide your spine with stability and support.

Procedures that may use facet screws:

  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Axial lumbar interbody fusion
Updated on: 03/22/16
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What Is Microdiscectomy?
Jason M. Highsmith, MD
This article was reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD.
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What Is Microdiscectomy?

Microdiscectomy is one of the most common minimally invasive spine procedures. Also known as microdecompression, microdiscectomy is a type of decompression technique that takes pressure off your spinal cord or nerve roots to relieve your pain.
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