Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is a common problem of the aging spine that can lead to severe and intractable low back and neck pain. Symptoms include low back pain (worsens when sitting), neck pain and discomfort from prolonged sitting or standing. When the location of the pain can be attributed to the degenerated disc, then surgical treatment may be effective. Options for treatment include traditional open fusion techniques which are the gold standard for treatment. Newer treatment options include: Minimally invasive fusion, Dynamic stabilization and Motion preservation with disc replacement/arthroplasty. The Spine Center at KIMS offers all of these approaches in the treatment of spinal degenerative disc disease.
Degenerative Spine Conditions
Degenerative conditions of the spine occur as part of the normal aging process. Nearly everyone experiences some degeneration of the intervertebral discs or spinal joints by the age of 40. However, in some individuals, these changes are more advanced than is typical for their age. Symptoms include back pain, leg pain, stiffness and neurological problems, such as numbness in arms or legs. Non-surgical treatments are often highly effective as an initial approach. If non-surgical treatment fails for degenerated/herniated intervertebral discs, or for spinal stenosis, then surgery is offered to selected candidates. Our spine surgeons are experts in correlating the patient's symptoms to the findings on x-rays and MRI scans, which is a critical step in determining who will benefit from surgery and what type of surgery should be performed.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Minimally invasive approaches to spinal surgery are becoming more popular and in many instances, are highly effective. Not all conditions or spinal diseases can be treated effectively with a minimally invasive approach. Minimally invasive techniques involve the use of small incisions done with the assistance of an endoscope, microscope, x-ray guidance, and/or a minimally open technique. The Spine Center at KIMS offers minimally invasive approaches for the treatment of cervical or lumbar disc herniations, degenerative disc disease requiring fusion surgery, and some types of spinal trauma including vertebral compression fractures. Minimally invasive spinal surgery may have advantages over traditional open surgery to include smaller incisions, shorter hospital stay, reduced postoperative pain, less blood loss, shorter recovery, and reduced risk of infection. Studies are ongoing to determine if the long-term outcomes of minimally invasive spinal surgery are superior to traditional open surgery.
Cervical and Lumbar Disc Herniation
Intervertebral disc herniation is the displacement of the cushion or disc that is situated between the vertebral bones. These intervertebral discs normally act as “shock absorbers” for the spine. When displacement or herniation of the disc occurs, the disc can impinge upon the spinal cord or nerve roots causing pain and dysfunction of the nervous system. Symptoms may include: pain in the back, legs, chest, arms, or buttocks, tingling or numbness in one leg, weakness in certain muscles and in one or both legs, severe deep muscle pain and muscle spasms. In many circumstances, disc herniations can be successfully treated with medication, physical therapy, and steroid injections performed by a pain management specialist. If these treatments are not effective, surgery is another option. Some disc herniations can be treated with minimally invasive surgery, while others require traditional open surgical techniques.
Spinal Trauma and Spinal Cord Injury
Acute and chronic trauma to the spine can result in two forms of spinal cord injury : primary injury at the time of the accident, and secondary injury from compression or spinal instability. Secondary injury prevention begins immediately at the site the injury takes place and continues after the patient arrives at the hospital. The Spine Center at KIMS strives to minimize potential secondary injury and optimize the patient’s functional outcome.
Spinal StenosisSpinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal that can be present at birth (congenital), acquired/degenerative, or a combination of both. If the stenosis is significant, it may result in the following symptoms: neck pain, back pain and arm/leg pain. These symptoms may worsen during physical activity. In severe circumstances, dysfunction of the spinal cord or nerve roots may result. When non-surgical treatments for spinal stenosis fail, decompression or surgical widening of the spinal canal may be performed. In some cases, our surgeons perform this decompressing procedure in conjunction with spinal stabilization or dynamic stabilization.
Spinal deformity or scoliosis is becoming more common in this country as our population grows older. Scoliosis and kyphosis are curvatures of the spine that develop in the aging spine. Symptoms include pain and difficulty walking or standing, feeling “off balance”, outward curvature of the spine at the back and hunching. When these deformities lead to pain or dysfunction of the spinal cord/nerve roots, non-surgical or surgical treatment options may be necessary. Our neurosurgical team offers minimally invasive approaches and open deformity correction procedures.