Facet syndrome surgery is performed only when other conservative treatment options have failed, or when the symptoms become debilitating. Since non-surgical treatments are typically very effective in managing the symptoms of this condition, few patients require surgery.
Causes of facet syndrome
Facet syndrome is the natural deterioration of the facet joints in the spine associated with normal wear and tear over the years. As part of the aging process, the facet joints lose their protective articular cartilage. This deterioration may progress to the point that bone abrades adjacent bone, causing significant inflammation. Inflammation also stimulates the formation of bone spurs, which are excess bony growths on the articular margins of facet joints. These smooth protuberances are harmless on their own and only become symptomatic if they compress a nearby spinal nerve or other soft tissue. It is this “pinching” that causes symptoms, not the bone spurs themselves.
The most common symptoms associated with facet syndrome include:
- Pain at the site of bone-on-bone contact or at the site of the pinched nerve
- Pain that radiates the length of the nerve being compressed
- Muscle weakness
Again, facet syndrome surgery is typically an elective procedure when all conservative treatments have failed. Physical therapy, pain medication, hot/cold therapy and other conservative, non-surgical choices are usually sufficient for most patients. However, if conservative treatment for weeks or months has led to little or no pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute. We will be glad to tell you more about our state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures that are performed using advanced technology. Our procedures are an effective alternative to open back facet syndrome surgery and have helped tens of thousands of patients.