The Rush Approach to Spine Surgery
At Rush, we make sure you truly need spine surgery before we recommend it. First, we assess patients through our Spine and Back Care services. We try nonsurgical methods to address your neck, spine or back pain, including physical therapy.
If we still recommend spine surgery after that, you can rest assured we are confident surgery will help you. Our spine orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons at Rush are some of the best in the country.
We understand spine surgery may seem scary. We'll take the time to walk you through all your surgical options so you feel comfortable with your procedure.
We know that when you're in pain, you want it addressed quickly. Our goal is to see you within one to two weeks, and sooner if your situation is urgent. We welcome second opinions.
Rush Excellence in Spine Surgery
- Recognized for excellence in spine surgery: Rush University Medical Center has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery. This designation recognizes Rush’s commitment to high-quality care, patient safety and providing the best possible outcomes for our spine surgery patients. It also reflects our expertise with cervical and lumbar fusion, cervical laminectomy and lumbar laminectomy/discectomy procedures, which contributes to fewer complications and readmissions compared to other facilities.
- Extensive spine surgery experience: Spine neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons at Rush typically perform more than 2,300 spine surgeries each year. Because they see a wide variety of spine issues and can draw on their experience, they can provide you with better outcomes. Research shows that spine surgeons who perform a high volume of surgeries have better outcomes for their patients with fewer complications.
- Minimally invasive spine surgery: Spine neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons offer a full range of minimally invasive spine surgeries. Minimally invasive spine surgeries typically mean you will have less pain and a faster recovery. Many of the more than 2,300 spine surgeries they perform each year are minimally invasive.
- Percutaneous spine surgery: Some minimally invasive surgeries (e.g., ALIF or DLIF) can be performed percutaneously. With percutaneous minimally invasive surgery, screws used for fusion are inserted into the skin through small incisions without cutting underlying muscle as with open surgery.
- Easier on your body: Along with minimally invasive surgeries, Rush spine surgeons use a pain management approach that leads to less reliance on opioids and less pain. In addition, our downtown Chicago location uses EOS imaging, a system that provides less radiation than traditional imaging.
- Alternatives to spinal fusion: Rush spine surgeons have extensive experience with spine surgeries that preserve motion. For example, they participated in early FDA studies on new cervical disc replacement devices. They stay up-to-date on the latest alternatives to spinal fusion, such as dynamic stabilization.
- Treatment for spinal tumors: Spine surgeons at Rush have expertise in minimally invasive surgery for spinal tumors on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Minimally invasive spine surgeries allow you to recover faster. A faster recovery means you can begin chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy (as needed) sooner.
- Making surgery safer through 3D and augmented reality tools: Spine surgery can be incredibly complex. Rush has technology that allows surgeons to create 3D surgical models. Without these models, it can be hard for surgeons to visualize all the nuances for spinal deformity and other complex surgeries. These models allow surgeons to better plan surgeries to enable better outcomes for patients. And, Rush surgeons were the first in the world to use augmented reality to superimpose 3D surgical models directly onto the surgical area for even greater accuracy.
- Convenient options across the Rush system: Rush has spine surgery locations throughout the Chicago area, from the western suburbs to Northwest Indiana. We also have spine neurosurgeons who specialize in only one area of the spine (e.g., only cervical spine surgery), as well as spine surgeons who treat multiple issues. For additional convenience, some spine surgeries are available on an outpatient basis. Your spine care team can help you decide the best approach for you.
- Spine surgery innovation and research: Spine surgeons at Rush conduct ongoing research and clinical trials of new treatment options and techniques for spine surgery. For instance, orthopedic spine surgeons at Rush have refined the ability to predict who would benefit from surgery, and which surgery to perform based on likely outcomes.