When should I consider spondylosis surgery?

In general, spondylosis surgery is viewed as a last resort for people who have either been unable to achieve sufficient relief with conservative treatment or who need urgent care for debilitating symptoms. If you’re wondering about your next steps after receiving a diagnosis of spondylosis (osteoarthritis of the spine), you are encouraged to speak with your physician. It’s possible that you could benefit from one or more nonsurgical options, which your physician may encourage you to try before considering spondylosis surgery.

Possible avenues to relief

Nonsurgical treatments, such as medications and physical therapy, can be very effective for addressing mild to moderate spondylosis pain and other associated discomfort. However, spinal osteoarthritis can produce a range of symptoms of varying intensities, and there are some scenarios in which spondylosis surgery is more appropriate than conservative treatment. For instance, this may apply to you if you have:

  • Spinal stenosis, which is sometimes best treated with surgery
  • Spinal instability, which can increase the risk of neurological problems
  • Neurological problems, such as severe arm or leg weakness, numbness and tingling
  • Bowel or bladder dysfunction, a rare complication that needs immediate medical attention

Additionally, spondylosis surgery may be an option for you if your quality of life is curtailed by severe pain or you are unable to work, drive or perform other daily tasks.

Are you healthy enough to undergo surgery?

All types of surgery, including spondylosis surgery, come with certain risks. The risk level is generally higher among patients who are elderly or have other medical conditions that could impair their recovery. Other potential contraindications include obesity and smoking, which can complicate the healing process after an operation. Your physician will work closely with you to determine your risk profile before clearing you for surgery.

Finally, prior to consenting to any surgical procedure, be sure to research your options. Keep in mind that you may have an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. The minimally invasive spine surgery performed at Laser Spine Surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice and provides many advantages versus open neck or back surgery.^ Contact us to find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive spondylosis surgery.