Bone spur surgery
Bone spur surgery for the neck and back
Spinal bone spur surgery may be a treatment option for a patient who is experiencing painful symptoms caused by bone spurs, which are also known as osteophytes. These smooth, bony deposits can develop anywhere in the body and often form in the neck or back as a part of the body’s natural protective response to inflammation and friction. This can be triggered by a number of factors, including wear and tear associated with the natural aging process, disc degeneration, poor posture, arthritis, traumatic injury and joint overuse.
Bone spur surgery is rarely necessary because, in and of themselves, osteophytes are not harmful. However, spine bone spurs can potentially become problematic due to the limited amount of space available within the spinal canal. In this confined area, excess bone can easily impinge on a sensitive spinal nerve root or the spinal cord itself. This type of neural compression can lead to neck or back pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, such as restricted range of motion, weakness in the extremities, numbness and radiating arm and leg pain.
Minimally invasive spinal bone spur surgery
Spinal surgery is usually recommended only as a last resort for patients who are experiencing chronic or debilitating pain that does not respond adequately to several weeks or months of conservative treatment. In the past, a patient who required bone spur surgery had only one option: a highly invasive, open back procedure followed by a lengthy recovery and daunting rehabilitation process. However, over the years, the talented surgeons at Laser Spine Institute have worked hard to perfect the innovative techniques that they are now using to perform minimally invasive procedures for a variety of degenerative spinal conditions, including bone spurs. As a result, today’s patients can turn with confidence to Laser Spine Institute for minimally invasive bone spur surgery and other procedures. Our approach to surgery offers patients many advantages over traditional open back surgery, including smaller incisions, shorter average recoveries, lower average complication rates and minimal scarring.
Laser Spine Institute is proud to offer patients some of the most advanced minimally invasive decompression procedures available for treating spinal bone spurs and other degenerative neck and back conditions, including:
- Laminotomy — This type of bone spur surgery can relieve pressure on the spinal cord or a compressed nerve root by removing a portion of a vertebral bone called a lamina. The laminae are thin, bony plates that form the vertebral arch and provide protection for the spinal cord. The surgical removal of a lamina (or a small portion of it) can increase the space available for neural tissue that is being compressed by a bone spur or herniated disc material, and thus alleviate painful pressure.
- Foraminotomy — This procedure can reduce pressure on a spinal nerve root by widening an intervertebral foramen. The intervertebral foramina are passageways through which nerve roots branch off from the spinal cord to other areas of the body. Bone spurs that develop in or near the foramina can potentially encroach upon this sensitive neural tissue. By surgically enlarging a foramen, a foraminotomy can help alleviate uncomfortable symptoms by allowing a compressed nerve root to pass through the opening unimpeded.
- Discectomy — While not generally considered a type of bone spur surgery, this minimally invasive procedure can be performed to treat other degenerative spine conditions by surgically removing displaced disc material that is exerting pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord. Specifically, a discectomy may be recommended if, based on a patient’s history, physical examination and imaging results, a physician diagnoses a herniated or bulging disc.
- Facet thermal ablation — The goal of this procedure is to desensitize the nerves that carry pain signals directly to a facet joint. This type of surgery may be recommended for treating a bone spur that has developed within a facet joint, and can also be beneficial to patients with degenerative spine conditions like spinal osteoarthritis, which can cause localized joint pain in the neck and back and eventually lead to bone spur formation.
Before considering spinal bone spur surgery
If osteophytes progress to the point that they are causing pain or other problems, a physician can recommend a number of conservative bone spur treatment options that can be attempted before bone spur surgery is considered. The goal of non-surgical treatment is not to remove the bone spur itself, but rather to mitigate the associated symptoms. Many patients find symptom relief that is sufficient enough to preclude the need for bone spur surgery through conservative treatments like:
- Rest — Because certain activities can cause spinal joint inflammation to worsen, a short period of rest (no more than one to three days) may be recommended.
- Weight loss — Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the daily stress and ongoing wear and tear exerted on the spine, and thus can help prevent new bone spurs from forming and ease symptoms when they do occur.
- Physical therapy — Targeted exercises and manual manipulation of the spinal joints can help restore and improve flexibility and strength, correct a patient’s posture and reduce pressure on compressed neural tissue.
- Medications — Over-the-counter and prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers and pain relievers can help reduce inflammation and manage discomfort.
- Cortisone injections — This powerful combination of anti-inflammatories and short-term numbing medications, which are injected directly into the epidural space of the spine, can provide relatively long-lasting relief once the medication takes effect.
The precise bone spur treatment regimen that is prescribed by a physician will depend on how a patient’s symptoms respond over time. Developing an optimal plan usually requires a period of trial and error to determine the right approach or combination of approaches. However, through one or more of these conventional measures, many patients are able to successfully manage their discomfort to the point that they can continue to participate in daily activities.
Contact Laser Spine Institute
While spinal bone spur surgery is not commonly required, it may become necessary if conservative treatments are attempted over the course of several weeks or months but fail to provide adequate relief. The minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute have been pioneered to provide patients with effective alternatives to traditional surgery. Our procedures are completed using state-of-the-art technology and small incisions. This approach can significantly shorten the associated recovery time and reduce the likelihood of potential scarring. All of our procedures, including bone spur surgery, are performed in an outpatient environment, and many of our patients are able to leave our surgery center within hours of their surgeries.
To learn more about our state-of-the-art bone spur surgery procedures, surgery centers and surgeons, contact Laser Spine Institute today.