Stabilization in Spine Surgery

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

Peer Reviewed
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Spinous Process Plates
Inserting spinous process plates may require a slightly larger incision than the incision for pedicle or facet screws because plates are generally larger than screws.

Like screws, plates work to stabilize your spine. However, like facet screws, spinous process plates are less stable than pedicle screws and rods.

Additionally, spinous process plates are only used in the lumbar spine.

Procedures that may use spinous process plates:

  • Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion
  • Lateral lumbar interbody fusion
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Axial lumbar interbody fusion

Spinal Instrumentation Risks
Spinal instrumentation may seem like a good option for you, but as with any other surgery, there are risks.

  • Hardware can shift, especially in people who have weak bones.
  • Instrumentation (after it's inserted) can limit your range of motion.
  • There may be a need for additional surgery or instrumentation.
  • Nerve damage and paralysis is possible. (Your nerves can get in the way when your surgeon inserts the instruments.)

Spinal Instrumentation Recovery
Depending on what spine condition you have and what type of instrumentation used during your spine surgery, how fast you recover can vary.

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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