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Understanding the problem

Degenerative joint disease (DJD) is marked by the gradual deterioration of the articular cartilage within joints. In the spine, the joints that connect adjacent vertebrae and allow them to bend and extend freely are called facet joints. These joints are especially vulnerable to deterioration because they are involved in many movements while bearing the body’s weight. Once the cartilage wears away, bare facet articular surfaces grind against each other, causing inflammation, pain and stiffness, and stimulating the formation of bone spurs, or osteophytes. Bone spurs are extra growths of bone that pose the risk of compressing nearby spinal nerves.

Understanding who suffers

Degenerative joint disease of the spine, is primarily caused by the natural aging process, though it can be accelerated by factors like obesity, smoking, overexertion, gender, illness and genetic predisposition. It is not necessarily a symptomatic condition and, in fact, most people older than 50 probably have some degree of mild spinal joint degeneration that they don’t even notice.

Potential Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms occur when inflammation becomes more severe and/or anatomical abnormalities, like bone spurs, press on spinal nerves.

Though symptoms may vary, many patients with osteoarthritis experience the following:

  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Stiffness
  • Limited range of motion
  • The feeling of bone rubbing against bone
  • The formation of bone spurs, or osteophytes, on the joint margins. These boney enlargements may press against nerves, causing pain, numbness, weakness, and other symptoms

The location of these symptoms can differ depending on the position of the affected spinal joints. Patients may experience discomfort in the neck, back, hips, shoulders, buttocks and extremities.

Examinations Usually Required

All medical diseases or conditions should be diagnosed through the gathering of medical history, a detailed physical examination and the use of ancillary testing.

Common tests ordered include:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Blood work
  • Discography
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS

Following the diagnosis of a degenerative joint disease, conservative non-surgical treatment will initially be proposed. If conservative treatment fails to provide relief, your physician might recommend surgery. Treatments can vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and how much they limit your everyday activities and your level of pain.

AIMIS is an expert in spine surgery and can provide minimally invasive procedures for degenerative joint disease and can review and propose your type and course of treatment.

  • Discectomy - involves the partial removal of a damaged disc that is causing symptoms. In removing the damaged part of the disc, pain can be alleviated, as well as the potential weakness and numbness caused by its impingement on a surrounding nerve.
  • Laminotomy - to remove the bony roof of a vertebra so as to provide more space to compressed nerves and relieving the symptoms caused by impingement.
  • Foraminotomy – involved the widening a vertebral opening to allow nerves to pass through to innervate the other areas of the body, providing more room for compressed , relieving the symptoms ranging from localized pain to radiating weakness.
  • Fusions – in the case where the collapsed disc has lost significant height and can no longer support the surrounding vertebrae, spinal fusion involves the removal of the collapsed intervertebral disc, followed by a repositioning and fusing of the two neighbouring vertebrae.

However, for more severe cases there are a range of treatment options which AIMIS perform and include:

  • Minimally Invasive Decompression Surgery
  • Minimally Invasive Fusion Surgery,
  • Minimally Invasive Stabilization Surgery Discectomy
  • Micro-Discectomy
  • Discectomy,
  • Micro-Discectomy,
  • Micro-Decompression,
  • Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery,
  • Total Disk Replacement (TDR),
  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion,
  • Decompressor Discectomy,
  • Lumbar Disc Microsurgery Treatment
  • AxiaLIF or Axial Lumbar Interbody Fusion
  • Stem cell transplantation please click here for further information

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!

To see our surgical technologies please click here

To see our surgical procedures please click here

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 many types of degenerative joint disease, but adult onset rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two of the most common types. Any joint of the body may be affected, although the weight-bearing joints of the body, like the knees, hips and spine, are especially susceptible.

When degenerative joint disease affects the neck and back, the condition is called facet disease or spinal osteoarthritis. The facet joints connect the vertebrae in the spine — allowing it to bend and flex — but as they dry out with age, the cartilage lining becomes brittle and can wear away. Without a protective lining, bone rubs against bone; causing inflammation and bone spurs that can potentially compress nerves.

Further Information on Increased Risk Groups

While everyone is subject to wear and tear due to aging, there are indirect factors that can speed up this natural deterioration. Some of these potential degenerative joint disease causes include:

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Obesity
  • Activities or work that involves repetitive motion
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.