Spinal Surgery Specialist

Kade Huntsman, MD

Spinal Surgeon & Non-Operative Spine Care located in Salt Lake City, UT

If you have a spine condition that isn’t improving despite following a conservative treatment plan, you might want to consider surgical options. Exceptional orthopedic spine surgeon Kade Huntsman, MD, is a distinguished expert in spinal surgery who provides incomparable standards of care and treatment to people living in or near Salt Lake City. Call Dr. Huntsman today to find out more about spinal surgery and whether it could help you, or book an appointment online.

Spinal Surgery Q & A

What is spinal surgery?

Spinal surgery is an option for patients who have back or neck conditions when less invasive treatments aren’t helping. Reputable spine surgeons like Dr. Huntsman always use conservative approaches to start with unless there’s a very good reason why you need surgery straight away.

Spinal surgery is only ever used as a treatment for known conditions, not as a diagnostic tool. Dr. Huntsman always goes into surgery knowing exactly what the problem is and how it needs fixing, so there’s no exploratory spinal surgery.

What conditions can spinal surgery treat?

There are spine surgery techniques that can stabilize your spine, correct defects that you were born with, like scoliosis, and relieve the causes of pressure on your spinal cord and the nerve roots exiting your spine. Some of the conditions Dr. Huntsman routinely treats using spinal surgery include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Radiculopathy
  • Myelopathy
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Scoliosis
  • Vertebral body fracture
  • SI (sacroiliac) joint dysfunction

Having a condition that could improve with surgery doesn’t mean you have to have an operation. In most cases, patients with many of these conditions don’t need surgery but improve with conservative, non-surgical treatments.

How is spinal surgery carried out?

There are two main types of spinal surgery, open and minimally invasive. Open surgery is the traditional form of surgery where you have to have a large incision to open up your body and enable the surgeon to see your spine.

Wherever possible, Dr. Huntsman uses minimally invasive spinal surgery techniques, which have advantages over open surgery as patients experience less tissue damage and pain, and recover more quickly. Minimally invasive techniques use tubular retractors or endoscopes to give Dr. Huntsman a view of your spine without having to make large incisions.

Tubular retractor

A retractor pulls muscles aside so they don’t need to be cut, and Dr. Huntsman uses fluoroscopy, which is a kind of moving X-ray, to guide the specialized instruments.


An endoscope is a thin tube with a camera and a light at one end that Dr. Huntsman passes through a small incision. The camera sends back images of your internal tissues to a monitor in the operating room, enabling Dr. Huntsman to carry out the procedure without directly viewing the surgery site.

Minimally invasive techniques are also used to perform robotic-assisted surgery. Dr. Huntsman uses the ExcelsiusGPS® robot to help him in specific procedures, where it improves accuracy and reduces tissue damage even further.

What kinds of spinal surgery procedures are there?

There are many different spinal surgeries, and new techniques are continually being developed to benefit patients. Some of the typical surgeries Dr. Huntsman carries out include:

  • Disc replacement
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion
  • Posterior cervical fusion
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)
  • Minimally invasive microdiscectomy
  • Open laminectomy with coflex® Interlaminar Stabilization® device
  • Pedicle screw fixation
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Posterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • SI (sacroiliac) joint fusion

If you have back or neck problems that aren’t responding to other types of treatment, spinal surgery could be the next step. To discuss your options, call Kade Huntsman, MD, or book an appointment online.