Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

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Facing spine surgery can feel overwhelming. You want your pain gone and your normal life back. But you're worried about how long or difficult surgery recovery will be. 

At UVA Health, we offer a full range of minimally invasive surgeries that help you:

  • Recover faster
  • Spend less time in the hospital
  • Have less pain
  • Avoid complications

These surgeries are easier on the body because they: 

  • Avoid cutting through muscle (muscle-sparing)
  • Use much smaller cuts (incisions)

All of our expert spine surgeons have extra training in minimally invasive spine surgery and extensive experience you won't find everywhere.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery at UVA Health

We offer minimally invasive spine surgery for many conditions, including:

We'll match you to the best surgery for your body and specific issue. 


A microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive discectomy. During this procedure, we remove part of a herniated disc. That relieves pressure on your nerves, which eases your pain and symptoms. 

Lateral Thoracic Discectomy

We’re one of few centers on the East Coast to offer lateral thoracic discectomy. This surgery treats herniated discs in the mid-back by removing the damaged disc.

MIS-TLIF & LLIF: Lower Back Spinal Fusions 

Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (MIS-TLIF) and lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) are types of spinal fusions. LLIF is sometimes called extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF). These surgeries join together (fuse) 2 or more spine bones (vertabrae) in the lower back (lumbar spine). They are used to treat many different spine conditions.

ALIF & ACDF: Discectomy + Fusion

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) and anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) both treat degenerative disc disease and herniated discs. ALIF is done on the lower back while ACDF is for the neck area. Each one is a minimally invasive way to remove a damaged disc (discectomy) and fuse 2 or more spine bones. 

Percutaneous Pedicle Fixation

Percutaneous pedicle fixation is a minimally invasive surgery that uses a small cuts (incisions) to implant metal rods and screws that stabilize the spine. It's a type of spinal fusion with instrumentation.


We can use minimally invasive techniques to perform this surgery to treat spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and spondylolisthesis. We use a drill to widen the area your nerves pass through in your spine. This relieves pressure on the nerves and helps your pain.


This surgery, sometimes called a canal decompression, treats spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis. We remove part of the spine bone (lamina) that's pressing on your nerves. This relieves the pressure and helps your symptoms. 

Spine Care at UVA Health

Minimally invasive spine surgery is part of the full range of treatment options at UVA Health for neck and back pain. Learn more about our expert spine care.