Understanding the problem
A bone spur, or an osteophyte, is a small, smooth projection that develops on the surface of a normal bone. Bone spurs can develop for a variety of reasons; one of the most common reasons is in response to friction - for instance, the friction that occurs within joints. When bones rub against other bones, the body may build up calcium deposits in an attempt to strengthen the bones to endure the friction created. These calcium deposits are called bone spurs, although this term is not entirely accurate since bone spurs are not sharp like a spur. As bone spurs grow larger, however, they can protrude into the nearby tissues, and can cause pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
A bone spur can develop on virtually any bone in the body, including the vertebrae of the spine. When bone spurs develop on the bones in the spine, they can compress a nerve root or the spinal cord itself. This compression - and not the bone spur - is typically what causes pain and discomfort.
Understanding who suffers
While there are many conditions that can lead to the development of spinal bone spurs, possibly the biggest underlying factor is the natural aging process. As we age, our bodies don’t stay as well hydrated making connective tissue brittle and leading to the bone-on-bone contact that causes bone spurs to develop. Here are some specific conditions that cause bone spurs, including:
- Disc degeneration. Degenerative disc disease is an accelerated deterioration of the spinal discs that occurs due to aging. Bone spurs can develop as discs shrink and vertebrae come in contact with one another.
- Spinal osteoarthritis. This is a joint disorder that causes the cartilage between joints to wear away, leading to bone spurs.
- Traumatic injury. Car accidents and impacts from physical sports like football can contribute to spinal bone spurs.
The incidence of bone spurs increases with age. In persons over age 60, bone spurs of the spine are quite common.
Potential Signs and Symptoms
Severe issues arise when cervical bone spurs grow to the point that they compress nerves or other bones. This can result in a number of serious symptoms, including:
- Aches and stiffness in the neck
- Radiating pain in the shoulders, arms and fingers
- Weakness in the extremities
- Restricted movement
In addition to supporting the upper body, the primary role of the spine is to protect the spinal cord as it travels from the brain to the lower body. Osteophytes cause issues when they narrow the already tight passageways that the spinal cord and branching nerve roots travel through. In addition to lower back pain, nerve compression related to a lumbar bone spur can cause the following symptoms:
- Tingling and numbness in the hips, legs and toes
- Shooting pain in the buttocks, hips and legs
- Muscle weakness
- Restricted movement and limping
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle spasms
Examinations Usually Required
Doctors first review the medical history and perform physical exams to understand the cause of any symptoms. If the suspected root of the pain, discomfort or numbness is a bone spur, doctors recommend other steps that can provide a much closer look at the affected area and make a specific diagnosis possible. Some of these options include:
- Radiographs/X-rays, which allow medical professionals to see the affected bones and compare progress of the condition over time.
- CT scans (in conjunction with radiographs), which help pinpoint the location of the bone spur by providing a cross-section view of the body.
- Electro-conductive tests, like EMG and nerve conduction tests, which can help eliminate other nerve compression sources from possible contributing factors.
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS
If a bone spur is diagnosed or another degenerative spine condition and conservative treatment has not provided relief, surgery may be suggested. Depending on the individual exact diagnosis, various minimally invasive decompression procedures maybe proposed including:
- Laminotomy - to create space in the spinal canal when a bone spur has developed
- Discectomy - to remove a portion of the bulging disc material or herniation to alleviate compression on the spinal cord or nerve root
- Foraminotomy, to remove bone spurs and other tissue which may be causing nerve compression inside a foramen
- Facet thermal ablation – using electrical current to deaden a nerve ending inside the spinal facet joint
In cases of more severe spinal degeneration, other minimally invasive stabilization techniques may proposed.
AIMIS provides various surgical options depending on an individual’s problem and include:
- Minimally Invasive Decompression Surgery,
- Minimally Invasive Stabilization Surgery,
- Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery,
- Total Disk Replacement (TDR),
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion,
- Decompressor Discectomy,
- Lumbar Disc Microsurgery Treatment
Why minimally invasive spine surgery?
Minimally invasive spine surgery was developed to treat spine problems with less injury to the muscles and other normal structures in the spine. It also assists the surgeon to see where the problem exists in the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), does not involve a long incision as is open surgery which helps to avoid damage to the muscles surrounding the spine. In most cases, this results in less pain after surgery and a significant faster recovery.
Spine surgery is normally recommended once a period of nonsurgical treatment likely including medications and physical therapy has not provided pain relief caused by the back problem. Surgery is considered when the source of your pain and underlying cause can be identified and surgical procedure proposed. Minimally invasive techniques today are common and being used for a wide range of spine procedures.
Benefits of minimal invasive spine surgery include:
- Small incisions
- Less pain. Often less pain than open procedures because less of the natural anatomy is disrupted
- Shorter Hospital stay
- Quicker return to daily activities
- Lower infection and complication rate
- Less blood loss. Smaller incisions also mean less blood loss, which can ultimately improve outcomes.
Minimally invasive procedures take a surgery that could be a dramatic event and makes it have less of an impact!
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Reputable and Prestigious Surgeons
AIMIS' skilled team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and ancillary professionals has one of the leading experiences in the world for minimally invasive spine surgery. Our full team are consulted with each case to find the most suitable experienced doctor for the patient’s exact issue, to ensure the maximum potential outcome of treatment
Getting More Information Before Moving Forward
You may have questions like:
- Can I get more information before I commit to this?
- Can I get a second opinion from you before I commit to this?
- How can I find out the cost before I have any obligation?
What AIMIS Can do:
AIMIS will provide a full review, diagnosis and potential surgical options for your condition, after receiving the relevant examinations and information from you. They will also provide an estimate for your surgical procedure before you decide. AIMIS’s mission is to the provision of “true” healthcare for those who require it. It provides world leading surgeons using state of the art procedures to optimize potential surgical outcomes, whilst taking care of all arrangements so as to allow concentration on recovery.
AIMIS provide competitive prices for state of the art procedures. We also work with a large range of Insurance companies where your policy allows you to have surgery abroad.
Further information on the problem:
There are three main types of spinal bone spurs - those that develop in the cervical (upper) region of the spine, those in the thoracic (middle) spine, and those in the lumbar (lower) spine. Bone spurs can develop on virtually any bone in the body over the course of a lifetime, some of which may never cause any issues and will forever remain unnoticed. However, when bone spurs begin to impede vertebral movement or pinch spinal nerves, the result can be a host of unpleasant conditions that make life difficult.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups
Bone spurs are often formed over years of spinal deterioration, usually caused by repetitive motion and weight gain that wears down the components of the spine. While some of these risks factors cannot be controlled, such as age and genetics, other factors can be changed to improve the overall spine health and reduce the risk of developing bone spurs.
The common causes of bone spur development include:
- Disc or joint degeneration — Which is the case in degenerative disc disease and arthritis of the spine
- Genetics — Inherited traits
- A history of injury — Whiplash, compression fracture
- Nutrition — Obesity or malnutrition from poor eating habits
- Poor posture — Slouching while seated or slumped shoulders while standing
Why AIMIS for this Surgery
AIMIS strives for excellence in delivering the best surgical outcomes, via the extensive expertise of its prestige surgeons, its technologies, its highly trained staff and superior facilities to provide an individualized and compassionate experience in a comfortable environment. All patients are treated with the individual care they deserve in an effort to provide the best chance of successful treatment.
Other Services Provided by AIMIS
In addition to its Innovative Healthcare, AIMIS provides seamless service along the way. From the start of your journey you'll know the best flights to take, where you'll be staying, what paperwork you will need. You will have a personal assistant assigned; from your pick up at the airport, to your accommodation, continuous assistance at your pre-consultation, through surgery and in your postsurgical care. Our Patients have said that they feel they have become "part of our family" and some even asked to stay a little longer! AIMIS is here to assist you in an all you requirements, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.