Degenerative disc disease, frequently referred to as DDD, is a term that describes changes in the spinal disc occurring with age. Let us look at those changes, whether they may be the source of pain, and what treatments are available.
Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
Cervical artificial disc replacement
Motion-sparing procedures is one of the current trends in spine surgery and likely will continue to prevail in the future. Among them, the cervical disc replacement is one of the best-developed and studied techniques. Let me give a quick overview of the surgery and who may benefit from it.
Laminectomy is an open surgical procedure that removes the lamina, a thin layer of bone that covers the spinal canal. It is done to relieve pressure from the nerves that causes pain, numbness or weakness.
Laminectomy is performed in cases of narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis) with pressure on the nerves when it causes pain or affects function.
Osteoporosis and spine health
Osteoporosisis a disease that decreases bone quality. It is a silent condition that often goes unrecognized unless it leads to fractures. Due to this risk, appropriate screening is needed. If a fracture has occurred, it may require surgical treatment.
Surgical and nonsurgical spinal decompression
Spinal decompression is removal of pressure from the nerve structures in the spine. It may be achieved with or without surgery. Nonsurgical decompression may provide temporary relief of symptoms but if pain persists, surgical decompression may be needed.
Is there a difference between orthopedic spine surgeons and neurosurgeons?
I am an orthopedic spine surgeon. Quite often my patients ask what the difference is between my specialty and neurosurgery. Some people assume that all spine surgeons are neurosurgeons. So, is there a difference and if so, what is it?
These days spine surgery is performed by two separate specialties, orthopedic surgery and neurological surgery (neurosurgery). There is a trend for them to merge into one specialty called “spine surgery,” but it has not happened yet.
Laser spine surgery – is it real?
I regularly hear a question from my patients: “Do you perform laser surgery?” In fact, it happens so often, that I think it is reasonable to address this in a separate blog post.
The notion of lasers used in spine surgery is widespread these days.
When do you need spine surgery?
“Do I need surgery?” This is a common question that patients ask when they see a spine surgeon.
Misunderstandings about the role of surgery in spine care are widespread. They often originate from pervasive TV commercials that promise instant cure of back problems by modern surgical techniques.
Spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication
The term claudication refers to inability to walk distances because of pain or tiredness in the buttocks and legs. There are two types of claudication: neurogenic and vascular.
Neurogenic claudication occurs because of narrowing in the spinal canal (stenosis) causing pressure on the spinal nerves.
Is a Pacemaker/Defibrillator a Contraindication to MRI?
As our population is getting older, more patients rely on cardiac-implanted devices. It is common to see these patients in the spine clinic, where advanced imaging is required for accurate diagnosis. Is it safe to use MRI in these patients?
The current practice is to avoid Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in these patients since the presence of an implanted cardiac device is considered a contraindication, which in result, would harm the patient.