Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy overview

The term “ligamentum flavum hypertrophy” certainly is a mouthful, as a combination of Latin and Greek words that are rarely heard outside of a medical spine facility. Though the term is daunting, the meaning of ligamentum flavum hypertrophy is simple — the enlargement of a type of connective tissue within the spine.

If you are researching back pain, you may be feeling overwhelmed at the amount of information available to you and the complexity of some of the spine topics. At Laser Spine Institute, our goal is to provide patient-centered care. That means that we are ready to provide you with whatever you need to help you make an informed and confident decision about your spine health.

As you continue to research spine articles and terms like ligamentum flavum hypertrophy, we encourage you to contact our dedicated team with your questions and concerns. We are here to help guide you through your journey to wellness.

Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy clarified

Fortunately, this complex term can easily be broken down into almost literal translations from its Latin and Greek origins.

For example, the Latin-based word ligamentum is derived from the Latin ligare, which means to bind or tie. From this word, we have the word ligament, which is defined as a tough band of tissue that connects two bones. In this case, the term refers to the ligament that connects the vertebrae of the spine and provides stability for posture and spinal movement.

The word flavum is derived from the Latin flavus, or yellow, which is the color of a ligamentum flavum. Hypertrophy comes from two Greek words — hyper, meaning oversized, and trophe, meaning nourishment or food. This essentially means that the ligament in the spine is thickening, which could cause a potential problem.

The medical application of ligamentum flavum hypertrophy

Ligamentum flavum hypertrophy means that the ligamenta flava (the plural of ligamentum flavum) is inflamed due to stress on the spine. This generally occurs in people over the age of 50 due to the natural degeneration process of the spine.

As we age, the components of the spine are vulnerable to degenerative conditions that can lead to painful spinal nerve compression. As stress increases on the ligamenta flava, their cells become inflamed (hypertrophy) and begin to ossify, or thicken. This increase in size and decrease in elasticity occasionally combine to reduce the area available for nerve roots and the spinal cord to pass (spinal stenosis).

This degeneration can happen at any level of the spine but is most commonly experienced in the lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) regions. It can be treated with anti-inflammatory medicine, but occasionally surgery may be recommended.

Laser Spine Institute treatment options

We offer several types of minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization that can treat ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. Our outpatient procedures have earned a patient recommendation score of 97 out of 100 and a patient satisfaction score of 96.^

Considering surgery can be difficult and somewhat daunting. Our procedures alleviate some of the uncertainty you may be experiencing by offering safer and effective treatment options compared to traditional open back surgery.^ If you are considering surgery, reach out Laser Spine Institute to learn how a minimally invasive laminotomy procedure may be able to help you find relief from neck or back pain.

Find out if you are a potential candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery by asking for your no-cost MRI review* today.