Back and Spinal Conditions

The Spine Unit at Highgate is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of all types of problems affecting the entire spine, from the head (cranium) and neck (cervical), to the mid-back (thoracic) and lower back (lumbar & sciatic) regions. Our leading spinal multidisciplinary team comprising expert consultant spinal surgeons, neurosurgeons, sports & exercise medicine specialists, chartered physiotherapists and specialist radiologists will all ensure you get the best possible care from your diagnosis to your rehabilitation.

We have two state-of-the-art theatres built with laminar flow systems for specialist orthopaedic procedures including spinal surgery and with our highly skilled theatre and nursing staff, we provide you with first-class care.

At Highgate Private Hospital, we understand that spinal problems are a common cause of pain, reduced mobility and loss of earnings. So, whether your problem is in your neck, midback or lower back, let our team of experts help to get you back on your feet.

Upon completing a £15m redevelopment, we are equipped with two state-of-the-art theatres built with laminar flow systems for specialist Orthopaedic procedures including spinal surgery. With highly skilled theatre and nursing staff specifically trained to support Orthopaedic & Spinal procedures and their recovery, we provide you with first-class care.

Services & Treatments

We combine our multidisciplinary approach with innovative procedures designed to offer you the most effective treatments that are individualised to your needs.

Some of the surgical treatments we offer include:

Spinal Surgery Procedures At Highgate Private Hospital

Lumber discectomy or laminectomy

A Lumber discectomy or laminectomy is an operation to treat lumbar spinal stenosis – when the spinal canal in your lower back becomes narrowed. This may be due to age and natural deterioration, or it could be due to arthritis in the spine or other bone defects. Some people are also born with a narrow spinal canal.

You might notice that after exercise or standing for some time, you have problems walking or pain and weakness in your leg, possibly accompanied by a tingling sensation. Sitting down or bending forward may improve these feelings.

This procedure is performed to remove a herniated portion of the lumbar disc. It is a fairly common spinal procedure that can be performed in an outpatient setting.


Surgery can help you to walk better and provide relief from the leg pain. It will also prevent your condition from worsening. A small number of people notice improvements over time without surgery but most will find their condition deteriorates, and surgery will become necessary. If appropriate for your condition, your consultant may suggest a lumbar microdiscectomy as an alternative, less invasive procedure.

Your operation will last between one and three hours and will use one of a variety of anaesthetic techniques. Your surgeon will make an incision in the centre of your lower back and part your muscles to access your spine, in order to remove bone and ligament. This creates extra room so that the nerves and blood vessels can function properly.

The wound will be closed with either stitches or clips, and a tube or drain may be inserted for a few days to assist healing.


You’ll be encouraged to walk on the day after your operation and will normally return home within two to three days. Do be aware that it can take some time before heavy lifting is possible after back surgery.

Ask your consultant about exercise, though generally resuming normal light exercise aids recovery.

Recovery from spinal surgery varies from patient to patient and symptoms might come back in time, due to wear and tear. Most patients make a good recovery from spinal stenosis operations.

Lumbar spinal decompression

Lumbar spinal decompression is a surgical procedure to treat spinal stenosis, where nerves in the spinal canal become trapped where they exit the lower end of the spinal cord. This is normally caused by bulging of the discs in the spine, arthritis or thickening of the ligaments.

This surgery is performed to treat compressed nerves in the lower spine. Lumbar spinal decompression is particularly effective in treating severe pain caused by compressed nerves. Patients can usually leave the hospital and go home after 4-5 days.


Symptoms of spinal stenosis include pain and weakness in the legs, and surgery can help to treat this. If your symptoms are mild, an operation might not be necessary. Sometimes the symptoms improve over time and they are unlikely to get worse. An injection of steroids is often effective for pain in the leg caused by pressure on the nerves of the lower spine (sciatica).

During your operation, which takes just over an hour and will use some form of anaesthetic, your surgeon will remove spinal ligament tissue and bone to release trapped nerves. The bones will be joined using a bone graft, metal screws and rods.


You’ll be encouraged to walk on the day after your operation and will normally return home within three to five days. It can take some time before heavy lifting is possible after back surgery.

Ask your consultant about exercise, though generally resuming normal light exercise aids recovery.

Recovery from spinal surgery varies from patient to patient and symptoms might come back in time, due to wear and tear. Most patients make a good recovery from spinal stenosis operations.

Minimally invasive spinal surgery (MISS)

Uses very small incisions, which typically range from 5 to 15mm, and is much less invasive compared with traditional surgery.

MISS is often used to treat back and neck problems, such as:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Vertebral compression fractures

It may also be used for the shoulders and legs.

These procedures are faster, safer, and require less recovery time as compared to open spine surgeries. As MISS requires smaller incisions, it can avoid damage to the surrounding tissue and results in less pain after the surgery.


The exact procedure will depend on your condition but normally your surgeon will make small incisions into your skin to access the affected area. Tiny surgical instruments and a camera (either a fluoroscope or endoscope) will be passed through these incisions to allow the surgeons to operate. Images from the camera will be displayed on a monitor to guide the surgeons through the process.

The benefits of MISS include shorter recovery time, minimal scarring, fewer complications and reduced haemorrhaging during the procedure. Your consultant will advise you on whether MISS is suitable for your condition.

Lumbar microdiscectomy

Lumbar microsurgery is used to treat pinched or compressed nerves, which may be the result of herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis (a forwardly displaced disc). These conditions can cause severe pain, weakness and numbness in the lower back and legs.

This Lumbar microdiscectomy is a procedure performed using fluoroscopic guidance to minimize the incision while removing a herniated portion of lumbar disc. Patients usually feel less pain after lumbar microsurgery and can usually leave the recovery room on the same day.

Traditionally a laminectomy has been the most effective surgical option to decompress lumbar nerves, but this involves removing muscle and tissue that help to stabilise your spine. Lumbar microsurgery is much less invasive because your surgeon will use a microscope to enable a smaller incision and a clear view of the nerve without disrupting supporting spinal ligaments, bones or muscles.


Your operation will normally take about an hour and you can expect a relatively quick recovery time. You may experience some pain and limited instances of spasms after the procedure, and this is normal.

Cervical spine surgery

There are seven bones in your cervical spine and these are referred to as the vertebrae. At one end it is fixed to your skull and at the other, it is joined to the thoracic spine, just behind your chest.

Your cervical spine plays a number of vital roles:

  • It protects your spinal cord, which runs inside it
  • The two vertebrae at the top allow your head to move sideways
  • The rest of the vertebrae make it possible to tilt your head and neck
  • Your vertebrae feel the impact of movement, so there is a disc between every set of two vertebrae that acts as a shock absorber to help protect them.

Cervical spine surgery is generally performed to treat neck pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness resulting from cervical degenerative disc diseases or a symptomatic cervical herniated disc. The approach for surgery varies a lot depending upon the root cause of the problem and patient’s medical history.

Causes of pain

There are a number of causes of pain in the cervical spine, including degeneration and injury. A portion of disc can be pushed back into the spinal canal resulting in a compressed nerve, which can lead to inflammation and a herniated disc. Deposits can build up on the vertebrae, known as spurs, and these can pinch the nerves. You will normally feel this pain in your neck and arms.


Although there are some medications available to help with pain caused by cervical spine issues, most experts believe that surgery is the best option.

Spinal Injections At Highgate Private Hospital

Epidural for pain relief

Spinal injections are used to relieve back pain as well as to find the source of a patient’s back pain. An epidural injection is delivered to the epidural region of the spinal cord. Epidural for pain relief can help patients with pain in the neck, arm, lower back, or leg. An epidural is an injection of anaesthetic that goes into the epidural space close to your spine and reduces pain felt in your back, helping you to move more easily. If steroids are included in the injection, they will bring down any inflammation caused by the pain and may help the injection to work for longer.

The injection takes between 15 to 30 minutes and will be made in one of four areas, depending on the affected area of your back.


EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare. 

The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

Back and Spinal Conditions Consultants

Are you insured?

We welcome patients with private medical insurance and are approved by all major insurers, including Bupa and AXA PPP.

Find out more
Not insured?

We offer a variety of fixed price Self-Pay Packages for those considering paying for their own treatment.

Find out more
document.addEventListener( 'wpcf7submit', function( event ) { var reference = + Math.floor(Math.pow(10, 12) + Math.random() * 9*Math.pow(10, 12)).toString(36); jQuery('input[name="wpcf7cfpdf_hidden_reference"]').val(reference); }, false );