Surgical treatments for spinal arthritis are typically used in cases where conservative, non-surgical treatments have been exhausted and the patient still has chronic or acute pain and limited mobility. Still, the decision to undergo surgery is almost always elective. Depending on the severity of the condition, the surgical treatment may involve treating the arthritic spinal joint, decompression of nerve structures and possibly performing a spinal fusion.
Decompression surgery is a broad term used to describe a number of procedures that are designed to relieve symptoms that are caused by pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord. During a decompression, a surgeon will remove any bone tissue, disc material or other debris that is placing pressure on the nerve root and spinal cord in order to relieve spine arthritis symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the neck, back or extremities. Common decompression surgeries include laminectomy, foraminectomy, discectomy and others.
Sometimes an open back decompression surgery will leave the spine unstable or structurally unsound, depending on the type of procedure performed. In this case, the patient may require a spinal fusion. During a spinal fusion, bone grafts or surgical hardware, such as screws and rods, are inserted into the spine for support and to allow for two or more vertebra to grow together as a single unit.
Open spinal fusions and open spine decompressions are each accompanied by negative side effects. Both are generally performed in a hospital. All open spinal surgeries also involve large incisions with damage to muscle tissue. Therefore, risk of infection and excessive bleeding is higher, and the recovery time is longer with open spinal surgery than with minimally invasive spinal surgery.
Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Our minimally invasive surgical treatments for spinal arthritis are performed in an outpatient environment and directly treat the arthritic joint to relieve pain. These procedures use state-of-the-art technology to allow for a drastically shorter recovery time than traditional open-back surgery. Laser Spine Institute regularly performs these surgeries for spinal arthritis and a number of other degenerative neck and back problems. If surgical intervention has been suggested to you, contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about our services or to arrange a review of your existing MRI or CT scan.