Degenerative spine conditions that can be treated with surgery

Degenerative spine conditions caused by aging are often a source of chronic pain and other symptoms that can severely interfere with your life. While conservative treatments like medication and physical therapy can be effective in many cases, they don’t work for everyone. Your doctor may ask you to consider spine surgery if you are still suffering from pain and limited mobility after fully exploring nonsurgical therapies.

What is the goal of spine surgery?

Degenerative spine conditions are caused by age-related changes to the body, combined with the weight and pressure placed on the neck and back through everyday activity. Over time, these forces can cause the spine to begin to break down: spinal discs lose water content and elasticity, facet joints become arthritic and ligaments calcify. These changes can cause the spinal nerves to become compressed if a misaligned or inflamed part of the spine constricts the spinal canal. Spine surgery usually involves the removal of displaced spinal anatomy to decompress nerves and relieve symptoms.

Degenerative spine conditions

A number of degenerative spine conditions can cause compression of the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root, including:

  • Herniated discs. The soft inner material of a spinal disc can push through a crack or tear in the disc’s tough outer wall and compress nerves in the spine. Spine surgery is sometimes required to remove the extruded disc material or, in some cases, the entire disc might be extracted.
  • Spinal arthritis. The cartilage that lines the facet joints can wear away, causing the joints to become stiff and inflamed, which can put pressure on spinal nerves. The goal of spine surgery for arthritis can range from removal of the anatomy that is causing constriction, to procedures that deaden affected sensory nerves.
  • Bone Spurs. The body sometimes produces bone spurs in response to conditions like arthritis and degenerative disc disease. These smooth growths of bone are the body’s natural attempt to stabilize joints, but they can also narrow nerve passages. Surgery can be required to remove some or all of these growths.

Laser Spine Institute

Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^ By using muscle-sparing techniques, our highly-skilled surgeons are able to perform these procedures on an outpatient basis, which offers many benefits for our patients.

To learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost MRI review* to find out if you’re a potential candidate for one of our procedures.