Three uncommon facet disease treatment options

For individuals who have been diagnosed with facet disease, there are many treatment options available. The specific approach recommended by a physician will usually be determined based on several factors, including the nature of the symptoms, the area of the spine affected by facet disease and the age, general health and preferences of the patient. The vast majority of people do very well with conservative therapies – so well, in fact, that surgery is a very uncommon treatment that is typically reserved as a last resort in very severe cases.

The goal of facet disease treatment

Also known as osteoarthritis of the spine, facet disease usually develops as a result of age-related degenerative changes in the spine; more specifically, inflammation of the facet joints that connect the spinal bones. As part of the natural aging process, the smooth cartilage that lines the facet joints slowly wears away. Because cartilage cannot be “regrown,” treatments for facet disease and other types of osteoarthritis are usually focused on symptom management. In most cases, this can be accomplished non-surgically with treatments like physical therapy and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Surgery generally becomes an option only if these approaches fail to produce sufficient relief over the course of several weeks or months.

Surgical treatment options

While surgery is generally uncommon for patients with facet disease, the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute offer several minimally invasive spine procedures for facet disease treatment when necessary. Three options are:

  1. Facet thermal ablation – Desensitizes the nerve endings in an arthritic facet joint; often performed in conjunction with a decompression procedure
  2. Minimally invasive stabilization – Provides support for a deteriorated spinal bone
  3. Foraminotomy or laminotomy – Minimally invasive decompression procedures that create space within the spinal canal to accommodate bone spurs or herniated disc material

While each of these outpatient procedures is performed using a different surgical technique, they all share one important characteristic: unlike traditional open spine surgery, they are minimally invasive in nature.

Laser Spine Institute

If you’re currently reviewing your facet disease treatment options, you may want to find out whether you’re a candidate for minimally invasive, outpatient surgery at Laser Spine Institute. To learn more, contact us today.