If Dr. Ahuja believes conservative treatments and therapies would be beneficial to try before considering surgery, there are a variety of options available. For more information, visit our Lower Back Pain page.

If your pain is still not improved to your satisfaction, Dr. Ahuja will recommend surgery at one of his three Wisconsin locations if he believes it will help improve your quality of life. You are never rushed into the decision to have surgery, since it is a big decision. If you decide to have surgery, we will schedule an additional office visit right before the surgery to prepare you for the surgery and answer any lingering questions.

Dr. Ahuja performs all spine surgeries under general anesthesia – you’ll be put to sleep. Most commonly, he goes in through the back (posterior incision), but Dr. Ahuja will occasionally make an incision somewhere between the belly button and the groin (anterior approach).

What Kinds of Spine Surgery Are There?

Here are some of the main types of lumbar and thoracic spine surgery.

Spinal Fusion

For information on the various types of spinal fusion procedures, please click here.


In this surgery the lamina is removed, which relieves pressure on the spinal column and eases your pain. Other bony spurs can also be removed during this procedure if needed.
Sometimes Dr. Ahuja only needs to remove part of the lamina; this is called a laminotomy.


In this surgery, a portion of a herniated disc is removed to relieve pressure on the nerves. Part of the lamina is also usually removed to gain access to the disc.

When this procedure is performed under a microscope, it is called a microdiscectomy.

What is the Recovery Period Like?

  • After a fusion, a brace may need to be worn for 4-6 weeks. There may be persisting back pain until its use is completely discontinued.
  • Many people notice an early improvement with their leg pain.
  • Talk to Dr. Ahuja or your physical therapist about correct posture and movements.
  • Slowly increase your activity every day, but only do what you are comfortable with.
  • Make sure to come to your follow-up appointments and be faithful to your recovery plan!

How Should You Prepare for Spine Surgery?

  • Stop smoking. Smoking makes it much more difficult for bone to regrow and heal, and may lengthen your recovery time. Dr. Ahuja would be glad to talk to you about different ways you can approach quitting.
  • If you don’t have it already, talk to Dr. Ahuja about getting information on proper posture, which will be important for a successful recovery.
  • Move any items in your house that are up high or down low to a height that is easier to reach, so that you won’t have to bend to reach them.
  • Talk to family or friends about arranging for rides, as you might not be allowed to drive for a period of time after surgery.
  • Get a pair of shoes that you can easily slip on so you don’t have to bend down to tie them.
  • Talk to Dr. Ahuja about which medications you should stop taking before surgery, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
  • Don’t eat or drink anything, including water or gum, after midnight the night before surgery.