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Awake Spine Surgery

UCSF Spine Center is one of the first major medical centers in the United States to offer awake spine surgery through an Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) protocol. A new spinal anesthetic enables awake, minimally invasive spine surgery for decompression and/or fusion. Combined with technological advances in the equipment used in spine surgery, awake surgery results in dramatic reductions in time for surgery and recovery.

Awake, minimally invasive spine surgery is a procedure that allows patients to stay awake during surgery without experiencing pain. A long-acting local anesthetic (liposomal bupivacaine) that was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides 72 hours of incisional pain control. Awake surgery is available for one- or two-level lumbar procedures for decompression and/or fusion to treat stenosis and spondylolisthesis.