Spinal surgery


Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4
1205 Geneva

Complément d'adresse
C Building, 2nd Floor
Portrait du Pr Karl Schaller
Karl Schaller
Head of Division

Spinal column surgery is based on a multidisciplinary approach that includes the attending physician, rheumatologists, physiotherapists and interventional neuroradiologists.

The division has technical equipment to perform neurosurgical procedures in the least invasive manner possible, such as endoscopy, image guided surgery, intraoperative navigation, robotics and percutaneous instrumentation for spinal surgery.

Herniated disc

The spinal column is composed of vertebrae and discs. Discs are pads located between each vertebra that allow for movement by absorbing shocks. A herniated disc occurs when part of an intervertebral disc has slipped into the spinal canal, which contains the spinal cord and nerve roots. It occurs most often in the lower back and may result in compression and inflammation of lumbar nerves. Although this condition is often asymptomatic, a nerve near the disc may be compressed. Pain in the leg or thigh may be felt as well as a loss of sensitivity and weakness which sometimes leads to paralysis. Surgical treatment is performed in very specific cases after a complete assessment and after conservative treatments (medication, physical therapy, etc.) have failed.

Narrow lumbar canal

This involves narrowing of the cavity (spinal canal) located in the center of the lumbar vertebrae where nerve roots are located, causing lumbar pain and pain in the lower extremities. Surgical treatment consists of decompressing the canal in the least invasive way possible to relieve pressure on the nerves and also pain.

Narrow cervical canal

When the spinal canal is narrowed at the cervical level, the spinal cord can become compressed. This pathology causes tingling feelings in the upper extremities, balance and walking disorders, or problems with urinary and fecal continence. In these cases, and after performing an extensive assessment, surgical treatment is offered to release the cervical spinal cord.

Spinal tumors and bone metastases

Neurosurgery treats tumors of the spinal cord (ependymoma, glioma), nerve roots (schwannomas) as well as the coverings of the spinal cord (meningioma).

Lesions that invade the vertebrae (bone tumors or metastases) are also treated. Each week, different multidisciplinary seminars (FR) provide the opportunity to discuss these cases and to decide on an optimal treatment strategy.


Spondylodesis is an approach that consists of fusing two or more vertebrae using screws and fixation rods. The goal is to reduce vertebral pain and maintain the spinal column in a good position. This technique is used in case of spinal column instability, sagittal balance disorders or even fractures.

There are multiple procedures and your surgeon will inform you clearly about the most appropriate one for your situation.

Last update : 17/09/2020