Motion-Preserving Spine Surgery
Motion-preserving spine surgery involves using various techniques to preserve mobility of the spine rather than fusing the vertebrae together as in traditional open spine surgery. Contemporary research and technology have made it possible for many surgical treatments to alleviate spinal problems without requiring spinal fusion. With motion-preserving techniques, patients can experience symptom relief, maintain full natural mobility, and reduce their risk of complications.
Why Motion-Preserving Spine Surgery?
- Achieve symptom relief without sacrificing mobility
- Correct nerve compression that can adversely affect neurological function
- Preserve functionality of the full spine
- Reduce the risk of accelerated degeneration of adjacent discs (adjacent segment disease)
Motion-preserving techniques can be used in various spine surgeries, such as:
- Cervical disc replacement: surgical replacement of a herniated or degenerative cervical disc with a fully functioning artificial disc
- Lumbar disc replacement: surgical replacement of a herniated or degenerative lumbar disc with a fully functioning artificial disc
- Lumbar spinal stenosis: surgical decompression of the spinal cord in the lumbar region in selective regions to avoid a fusion
- Cervical spinal stenosis: surgical decompression of the spinal cord in the neck region without a fusion.
In motion-preserving spine surgery, any of the following devices might be used:
- Artificial discs to replace degenerative or herniated discs and provide continued cushion for the vertebrae
- Interspinous process spacers to keep the spinous processes open and decompress the spine
- Dynamic stabilization devices to facilitate controlled movement of the spine
- Facet replacement devices to replace facet joints
- Laminoplasty: using a “hinged door” technique in the cervical or lumbar spine to allow for nerve and spinal cord decompression without a traditional fusion
Motion-preserving spine surgery offers several advantages over spinal fusion:
- Preserves range of motion
- Guards against accelerated degeneration of adjacent discs (which can occur after spinal fusion)
- Stabilizes the affected area and reduces tension and compression
- Does not require bone grafting
- Speeds recovery
Frequently Asked Questions
Motion-preserving spine surgery is intended as an alternative to spinal fusion surgery for individuals who need surgery to relieve various spinal issues. If you have tried nonsurgical treatment methods for your spinal condition without achieving adequate relief, you may qualify for motion-preserving spine surgery.
Current research shows significant promise in the efficacy of motion-preserving devices and their ability to relieve symptoms, slow degeneration, and maintain mobility for affected patients. Motion-preserving spine surgery is still an evolving field, and research on some of these devices is still somewhat limited. Ongoing research is being conducted in this area.
The key to surgical indications for motion preserving surgery is appropriate indications and patient selection in clinic with Dr Pehler.
All surgery carries some risks. Dr Pehler will go over the risks and benefits with you in clinic before your procedure is scheduled.