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.