Degenerative joint disease (DJD) of the neck is a fairly common condition because years of wear and tear take their toll on the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, and joints of the cervical spine. The disease causes the articular cartilage within facet joints to deteriorate, both due to water loss and the breakdown of protein fibers. As bone rubs against bone, inflammation develops, stimulating osteophyte, or bone spur, development. Bone spurs may compress nearby cervical spinal nerves. Symptoms of weakness, throbbing, and tingling can spread through the shoulders, arms, and hands. In severe cases, inflammation of the synovial capsule, which produces the lubricating agent of the joints, can cause additional inflammation and/or joint deformity.
Surgery for degenerative joint disease
Cervical degenerative joint disease can be addressed surgically. Options include:
- Laminectomy – This surgery is aimed at removing bone spurs that may have developed in the joint space. Osteophytes are produced by the body in a reaction to inflammation in degenerative joints. Spurs often cause neural compression.
- Spinal fusion – This surgery uses a bone graft and stabilizing hardware to fuse a section of the spine into one segment of solid bone. Ideally, the fused section prevents joint movement, which eliminates mechanical pain.
Is surgery my only treatment option?
Before considering surgery, conservative treatment of symptoms should be attempted. Different treatment combinations are effective in different individuals. Pain medication, hot-cold compresses, behavior modification, and gentle stretching are all viable options. If weeks or months of these therapies prove ineffective, surgery may be indicated. To avoid unnecessary destruction of normal tissue and minimize risk, it is reasonable to determine the least invasive efficacious surgical treatment possible. How to accomplish an efficacious treatment and while maintaining the least disruptive course of action is the fundamental idea upon which Laser Spine Institute was conceived and developed. With substantial effort and financial expenditure, the physicians at Laser Spine Institute have developed innovative, highly successful minimally invasive endoscopic procedures for the treatment of many spinal conditions. When conservative non-invasive treatment has failed, more invasive treatments are required. In the past, “more invasive” has meant traditional open spinal surgery. “More invasive” no longer must mean traditional open spinal surgery. It now may mean minimally invasive spine surgery.
Laser Spine Institute offers a full range of minimally invasive procedures that are performed on an outpatient basis. Which Laser Spine Institute procedure is best for any given individual must be determined at a personal consult. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for more information, or for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.