Spine Blog

Degenerative disc disease (DDD)

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.

Anatomy of a normal intervertebral disc

Normal disc is a layer of elastic tissue lying between two spine bones called vertebra.

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.

Lumbar laminectomy

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.

Indications:

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.

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.

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.

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