Dynamic stabilization overview

Dynamic stabilization is an open spine procedure which uses hardware to stabilize the spine. This is required in situations when a surgeon must remove a large amount of spinal anatomy, such as an entire spinal disc. Similar to a spinal fusion, a dynamic stabilization uses screws, rods and wires to hold structural parts of the spine, like discs and vertebrae, in place.

The difference between the two procedures is that after a spinal fusion, a bone graft forces two vertebrae to fuse together, causing the spine to lose mobility. Dynamic stabilization makes use of flexible prosthetic materials in an attempt to preserve the normal function of the spine, allowing it to extend and flex as usual. To learn more about when this procedure is necessary as well as the alternatives to dynamic stabilization, read the following article.

When is dynamic stabilization performed?

Dynamic stabilization is usually performed in the lumbar spine (lower back), as this region of the spine is most likely to experience degenerative conditions like spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis or degenerative disc disease.

After a diagnosis is made, conservative treatment is usually attempted first, with back surgery seen by most physicians and patients as a last resort. Many patients report finding relief from back pain and related symptoms after a full course of conservative options, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic manipulation
  • Pain medication, both over-the-counter and prescription
  • Diet and low-impact exercise
  • Epidural steroid injections

If several weeks or months of conservative treatment is not effective to regain an acceptable quality of life, a physician or specialist will usually consider surgery.

Are there alternatives to dynamic stabilization?

As with any back surgery, there are risks involved with dynamic stabilization. The procedure is usually performed in a hospital setting, so there is significant blood loss and a greater risk of infection. Traditional open spine surgery also involves large 6- to 8-inch incisions that cut and tear the supporting muscles of the back, leading to a long rehabilitation period before normal activity can be resumed.

If you’re experiencing debilitating neck pain, and your physician recommends open back surgery with stabilization or a spinal fusion, contact Laser Spine Institute. We can perform minimally invasive stabilization surgery as a safer and effective alternative to traditional open fusions or dynamic stabilization.^

Our board-certified surgeons+ are able to access the spine, remove damaged material and insert stabilizing material using much smaller incisions that can shorten recovery time compared to traditional fusion techniques.^ Reach out to Laser Spine Institute for a free MRI review* to see if you are a potential candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.