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 ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Spine surgery to treat AS is typically reserved for the small percentage of patients who experience severe deformities and reduced quality of life because of the condition.

In most cases of ankylosing spondylitis, pain and stiffness can be managed through mainstream conservative treatments, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, posture modification, stretching, physical therapy, pain medication, bracing, warm baths and others. However, if AS causes the joints of the pelvis and spine to grow together and become rigid, a physician may recommend spondylitis surgery.

An overview of AS

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 pain, stiffness and reduced range of motion in the facet joints (the joints located in between vertebrae). Symptoms of pain and stiffness may 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.

Surgical focus

In general, the focus of spondylitis surgery is to reconstruct deformed joints and 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 Care Team can help you find conservative options to reduce your chronic back pain. Contact our Care Team to learn more about your spine condition and the treatment options available to you to help alleviate your chronic back pain.