Exploring spondylitis surgery

Spondylitis surgery won’t be a treatment option for every patient. Spondylitis is a term used for a group of related arthritic diseases, one of which is called ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Spine surgery to treat AS is typically only recommended for a small number of patients who experience severe spinal instability and pain that causes a reduced quality of life.

In most cases of ankylosing spondylitis, pain and stiffness can be managed through conservative treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, posture modification, stretching, physical therapy, medication, bracing and hot/cold therapy. However, if AS causes the joints of the pelvis and spine to grow together and become rigid, a doctor may recommend spondylitis surgery.

Ankylosing spondylitis overview

Ankylosing spondylitis is characterized by inflammation of the vertebrae, or, more specifically, the jointed areas of the spine. Over time, the inflammation, which usually begins in the sacroiliac joints of the sacrum and pelvis, can travel up the spine, causing symptoms such as the following:

  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Reduced range of motion in the facet joints
  • Radiating symptoms as a result of nerve compression

These symptoms can become worse during periods of inactivity or rest and people with AS may be awakened during the night because of their discomfort. In some patients, the affected joints and vertebrae can fuse together, causing spinal deformities and making everyday activities extremely difficult.

Goals of spondylitis surgery

In general, the focus of spondylitis surgery is to increase spinal stability and possibly relieve compression on the spinal cord and its nerve roots. This may be accomplished through a variety of surgical approaches including the implantation of stabilizing rods and screws in the spine, as well as the removal of excess bone growth that may be impeding a patient’s range of motion or pressing on nerve tissue.

Laser Spine Institute does not provide minimally invasive surgery to treat spondylitis. However, if you have spondylitis, our caring team can help you find conservative options to reduce your chronic back pain.

Contact us today to learn more about your spine condition and the treatment options available to you to help relieve your chronic back pain.