The level of invasiveness of your procedure depends on what type of surgery you doctor feels will best address your back issues. The most commonly performed surgery is spinal fusion, which joins spinal bones to limit movement and is one of the less invasive surgical procedures. If your condition warrants the removal or replacement of bone or discs, your surgeon will need to perform a diskectomy or a laminectomy, which require larger incisions and more severe alterations to the spine. Major surgeries like these carry a host of possible complications that range from minor to severe. Surgery risks include excessive bleeding, damage to the vital nerves in your spine leading to weakness in extremities or paralysis, blood clots, heart attack and stroke. Back surgery also comes with the risk of complications from anesthesia which can include brain damage and death.