Mr Rodney Laing

Consultant Neurosurgeon

Is spinal surgery dangerous?

All surgery carries risks, and there are specific risks associated with spinal operations but for most common spinal procedures these risks are very small and only rarely encountered.

Do spinal operations make people better?

Successful surgery cannot be guaranteed. However, provided there is a clear diagnosis and there is a structural problem accounting for your symptoms, then surgery gives you a very good chance of an improvement or resolution of your symptoms.


Will my GP be aware of the treatments available

Not all GP’s are familiar with the scope of modern spinal surgery and what can be achieved. However, we are working closely with our gp community to ensure that patients are referred when appropriate


Do operations for back pain work?

Not everyone is suitable for surgery. If your back pain is caused by a structural abnormality then surgery may be helpful for you.  However, there are lots of patients with back pain who do not have any significant structural abnormality.  In this situation symptoms may be best treated with physical therapies and rehabilitation.

The following references relate to text throughout the website:

Maratos E, Trivedi R, Richards H, Seeley H, & Laing RJ. Psychological distress does not compromise outcome in spinal surgery. Br J Neurosurg 2012

Vakharia V Guilfoyle M Laing RJ Prospective study of outcome of foramen magnum decompressions in patients with syrinx and non-syrinx associated Chiari malformations. Br J Neurosurg 2012 26: 7-11

Guilfoyle M, Seeley H, Laing RJ. The Short Form 36 health survey in spine disease – validation against condition specific measures. Br J of Neurosurg 2009 23;401-405.

Mannion R, Wilby M, Godward S, Lyratsopoulos G, Laing RJ. The Surgical Management of Metastatic Spinal Disease Prospective Assessment and Long Term Follow-Up. Br J Neurosurg 2007 21:593-598

Guilfoyle M, Ganesan D, Seeley HM, Laing RJ. Prospective Study of Outcomes in Lumbar Discectomy. Br J Neurosurg 2007; 21(4):1-7

Wilby MJ, Seeley HM, Laing RJ. Laminectomy for lumbar canal stenosis; a safe and effective treatment. Br J Neurosurg 2006; 20(6)391-395

Haden N, Latimer M, Seeley HM, Laing RJ. Loss of interverebral disc height after anterior cervical discectomy. Br J Neurosurg 2005; 19(6):469-474

Latimer M, Haden N, Seeley HM, Laing RJ. Measure of outcome in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy treated surgically. Br J Neurosurg 2002; 16(6):545-549

Laing RJ, Ng I, Seeley HM, Hutchinson PJ. Prospective study of clinical and radiological outcome after anterior cervical discectomy. Br J Neurosurg 2001 15:319-323

Laing RJ. Measuring outcome in neurosurgery. Br J Neurosurg 2000; 14(3):181-184

For more information about Mr Laing's practice at Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital, or to make an appointment, telephone 01223 266990 or visit the website

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