Elite Spine

Surgical Procedures

Most of our routine surgical procedures will typically take one to two hours to complete. Patients are suitable for discharge home within 24 - 48 hours. Recovery time takes approximately six weeks. As with all surgical procedures, there are risks which will need to be considered prior to proceeding with your surgery. These will be discussed with you at length at your pre-surgery consultation.

Some of out most common surgical therapies are listed below

Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion (ACDF)

Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion(ACDF) is a surgical procedure to remove a damaged or herniated disc in the neck. A common cause of cervical (neck) pain is a rupture or herniation of one or more of the cervical discs. This happens when the soft nucleus, or centre, of the disc squeezes out, and as a result causes pressure on the nerve root(s) and/or the spinal cord causing pain in the neck, shoulders, arms and sometimes the hands.

An ACDF is performed by making an incision in the throat region to reach the front of the spine. The damaged or worn disc is removed, and a special graft called a cage is inserted, to fuse the bones above and below the disc space. A titanium plate is then secured over the bones (vertebrae) to secure it. After 3 to 6 months, the bone graft should join the two vertebrae and form one solid piece of bone. The aim of this surgery is to remove pressure on the spinal nerves in the neck region.

Posterior Lumbar Discectomy/Decompression (Microdiscectomy/PLD)

Lumbar Discectomy/Decompression surgery is performed to remove a damaged or herniated disc in the lower spine. This allows the nerve root more space and provides it with a better healing environment. Depending on your particular case, the surgery may be performed through a minimally invasive technique, known as a 'microdiscectomy'. Typically, a microdiscectomy/microdecompression is performed for pain from a herniated disc in the lumbar region. The surgery is best suited for treating leg pain (sciatica) caused by the herniated disc.

Some patients may require a more 'open' technique, requiring a larger skin incision and removal of a small portion of bone (laminectomy) to take the pressure off or 'decompress' the spinal nerve root(s). A lumbar decompression is typically performed for pain from spinal stenosis which may be caused by osteoarthritis/bony overgrowth due to 'wear and tear', (rather than a herniated disc). This portion of bony overgrowth is removed, also to allow more room for the nerve root(s) to pass freely though the spinal canal, thus reducing pain, weakness and/or altered sensation.

The technique which will best suit your needs will be discussed with you at your pre-surgical consultation.

Posterior Lumbar Fusion (PLF)

A Posterior Lumbar Fusion is performed from the back of your spine. During the procedure, metal screws and rods and sometimes a piece of metal called a 'cage' are inserted to permanently fuse segments in the lower part of the spine. These metal elements initially act as a scaffold until bony union of the vertebrae occurs. This usually takes between 9-12 months.

A posterior lumbar fusion may be required for a number of reasons. Damage to or degeneration (wear and tear) of the spinal structures can lead to narrowing of the spinal canals and/or instability of spinal structures, resulting in chronic back pain, limited bowel/bladder sensation or severe pain, limited movement and/or loss of sensation in your lower limbs.

A posterior lumbar fusion is performed to relieve back pain and/or leg pain by fusing your spine at the level where the pain is coming from. It is not a procedure to improve chronic back pain where the cause has not been established.

Other Procedures/Surgical Approaches

There are many other different surgical procedures and surgical approaches which may be utilised to maximise your benefit from your surgery. Each procedure will be tailored to your individual needs. If an alternative surgery/approach is recommended than the information provided here, more information will be provided to you at your pre-surgical consultation.

Contact Us

If you wish book an appointment you can get in touch with us as listed below.

Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 16:00
Saturday - Sunday : Closed
St. Raphael's House
81 - 84 Dorset Street Upper
Dublin 1
The Gables
Torquay Road, Foxrock Village
Dublin 18

Patient Testimonials

Elite Spine

I was recently referred to Elite Spine by my local G.P. as I had severe pain in my lower back and right hip. From the moment I arrived at the hospital door I was treated in a most professional and caring manner by the full team at Elite Spine. Diagnosis and treatment was swift and most professional. I am now fully recovered, pain free and leading a normal life again. Thank you Elite Spine. FMcG


From the time where my health began to be significantly impacted - the speed, efficiency and professionalism of Mr.Butler and his team was exceptional. From my doctors initial referral to Mr. Butlers clinic, Conor McBride, Mr. Butlers executive assistant did everything he could to work my hectic work diary around Clinic times, while Clinical Nurse Specialist Andrea was on hand post op to deal with all worries and queries. It's a great relief to know that your interests are what matters when life throws you a serious curve-ball.


Had a recurring, (over two years), back problem and on attending the Mater Private Hospital requested that remedial attention, if necessary, should be undertaken by Mr Joseph Butler. He was strongly recommended to me by a Health Professional who knew of his acknowledged expertise. Upon diagnosis I had, some two days later, a Lumbar Decompression and was up and about (timidly) the following day. I can strongly reccomend Mr Butler and his Clinical Nurse Specialist Andrea Flannery fortheir expert and "down to earth" approach.


During the past year I experienced severe neck and arm pain. I was referred to Mr Butler from my GP. Having a background in the medical field I was very apprehensive when surgery was suggested as the long term answer. I met with Mr butler and Nurse Andrea. They calmed my fears. When I arrived at the Mater Private I was welcomed by them. In surgery I was wheeled in and both were there. What a sense of safety!. My recovery went excellent and they were there for me daily. My recovery was fast and straightforward. They are at the other side of the phone if I need them, Thankfully I haven’t. If one could say it was a good experience, then it was excellent.

Sr McG

I was fortunate to be referred quite quickly to Mr Butler but in advance of my first consultation, I had spoken with the Elite Spine Team on the phone, they were very reassuring and once my condition was diagnosed and the date set for surgery, I felt a certain degree of relief. After surgery, it was wonderful to be pain free. To be able to sleep uninterrupted is like winning the health lotto. The care received from the entire team was fantastic."


Earlier this year my husband suffered from a very severe back condition. On arrival at Elite Spine Clinic we were treated with the utmost kindness and reassurance. The team of Mr.Joseph Butler, Consultant Spine Surgeon, Andrea,Spine Clinical Nurse Specialist,and Conor were each available to us at all times and we can’t thank them enough for the quality of care he received which was always professional and administered with great kindness.


Having endured and ignored a disc problem in my neck for many years I finally decided that the time had come to address the issue. Mr. Butler of Elite Spine was recommended to me and after an initial consultation, he recommended I have surgery but psychologically I wasn’t ready. At no time did he pressure me to take his advice. Eventually I had to accept that I needed to heed his recommendation. From my initial consultation to my final consultation I found Mr. Bulter to be quietly reassuring and extremely diligent. I met with his specialist nurse who continues to this day to follow up on my progress. At all times I felt I was in competent and capable hands. I cannot recommend Elite Spine highly enough and I am a very fussy ex-nurse!!