Surgery for Osteophytes - When and If You Should Consider It

Osteophyte Surgery

Surgery for osteophytes should be a last resort. As with any physical ailment, surgical solutions should only be considered after you have attempted weeks or months of consistent, conservative treatment. Many people don’t realize how many options they have when choosing forms of non-invasive pain relief – treatments can include physical therapy, behavior modification, body work, analgesics, cortisone injections, low-impact exercise or a variety of holistic treatments, like yoga or meditation.

What are osteophytes?

Osteophytes in the spine, which are more commonly referred to as bone spurs, are extra growths of bone that your body produces when your spine begins to weaken due to aging or a degenerative disease. Bone spurs are a completely normal part of getting older, and they generally only produce symptoms if the bony projections interfere with spinal nerves or the spinal cord. Bone spurs are your body’s way of “healing” a degenerating spine by trying to strengthen it. However, these osseous formations end up having a detrimental effect on the body, as bone spurs can lead to decreased mobility, localized pain, pain that travels to the extremities, numbness, weakness, crepitus (the sensation of bone grinding against bone) and other symptoms. These symptoms occur when bone spurs infringe on the spinal canal or the foraminal spaces and put undue stress on spinal nerves or the spinal cord.

Surgery for Osteophytes

Unlike herniated or ruptured intervertebral discs, bone spurs will not repair themselves. If several months of conservative treatment do not prove effective, your physician might suggest surgery as an option. The most common surgery for osteophytes is a laminotomy, which focuses on removing part of the lamina, or roof over the vertebral arch, and the attached bone spurs. Traditionally, laminotomies have involved hospitalization and risk of infection.

Alternative surgery for osteophytes

Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative to the risks and lengthy recovery periods of traditional surgery. Our minimally invasive procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and have helped thousands of people find relief from the pain of bone spurs in the neck and back. Contact us today for your MRI review to determine candidacy for surgery.