Spinal Glossary: O

  • opioids: Drugs that treat pain by affecting pain perception without treating the underlying cause. These medications affect pain perception only and do not treat the pathologic condition.
  • osteophytes: Bone spurs.
  • osteoporosis: A condition in which the bones become more porous and prone to fracture, usually age-related.
  • orthosis: Brace.
  • Osteoarthritis: A disease affecting the load-bearing joints, characterized by the deterioration of articulating cartilage that leads to cartilage and bone loss.
  • Osteophyte: Commonly referred to as a bone spur, an osteophyte is a smooth growth of bone that the body develops as a natural healing mechanism.
  • orthopedic(s): A branch of medicine that focuses on the study, diagnosis and treatment of the skeletal system, joints, muscles, ligaments and associated nerves.
  • orthopedic surgeon: A surgeon who specializes in treatment of conditions involving the musculoskeletal system.
  • open back surgery: The traditional form of back surgery that is massively invasive, often requiring a large incision, the cutting of muscle, the insertion of implants and/or bone grafts, hospitalization and a lengthy recovery period.
  • open neck surgery: The traditional form of surgical procedure to treat a spinal condition in the cervical (upper) region.
  • outpatient: A patient who does not stay in a hospital for 24 hours or more but visits a hospital or medical facility for diagnosis and/or treatment. Related to surgery, outpatient refers to a procedure that does not require the patient to stay in the hospital overnight.
  • ossification: The natural process of bone formation, also called osteogenesis. Ossification can also refer to the hardening of a soft tissue into a bony substance.