Understanding the problem
Degenerative Disc Disease is a condition that causes weakening of one or more vertebral discs, which normally act as a cushion between the vertebrae. This condition can develop as a natural part of the aging process, but it may also result from injury to the back.
Understanding who suffers
Low back pain is one of the most prevalent problems facing the modern world. For many patients who have failed conservative therapy such as spinal injections, physiotherapy and medication continue to have intractable life changing pain. Not all patients are surgical candidates and need to be review by relevant experts to understand the correct path of treatment.
Potential Signs and Symptoms
Typical symptoms may wary greatly and could include none or all of the following symptoms and more:
- Pain, numbness or tingling in the arms or legs based on the place of the pathological disk.
- Strong pain tends to come and go.
- Bending, twisting and sitting may make the pain worse.
- Lying down relieves pressure on the spine.
Examinations Usually Required
Plain radiographs are the most common type of imaging modality that is used in the initial assessment of patients with lower back pain (LBP).
CT or CAT scan
CT scanning of the lumbar spine provides superior anatomic imaging of the osseous structures of the spine and good resolution for cases of disc herniation.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI has demonstrated excellent sensitivity in the diagnosis of lumbar disc herniation and is considered the imaging study of choice for nerve root impingement.
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS
Treatments can vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and how much they limit your everyday activities and your level of pain. Not all patients with pain from degenerative disc disease require surgery. For mild to moderate pain, more conservative treatment methods can include medications, physical therapy, and chiropractic care.
However, for more severe cases there are several treatment options which AIMIS perform and include:
- Minimally Invasive Fusion Surgery
- Minimally Invasive Stabilization Surgery Discectomy
- Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery
- Total Disk Replacement (TDR)
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion
- 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!
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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 treating herniated disc. 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’ 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:
- Disc Wall Tears - Degenerative disc disease typically begins when small tears appear in the disc wall, called the annulus. These tears can cause pain.
- Disc Wall Heals - When the tears heal, creating scar tissue that is not as strong as the original disc wall. If the back is repeatedly injured, the process of tearing and scarring may continue, weakening the disc wall.
- Disc Center Weakens - Over time, the nucleus (or center) of the disc becomes damaged and loses some of its water content. This center is called the pulposus, and its water content is needed to keep the disc functioning as a shock absorber for the spine.
- Nucleus Collapses - Unable to act as a cushion, the nucleus collapses. The vertebrae above and below this damaged disc slide closer together. This improper alignment causes the facet joints – the areas where the vertebral bones touch – to twist into an unnatural position.
- Bone Spurs Form - In time, this awkward positioning of the vertebrae may create bone spurs. If these spurs grow into the spinal canal, they may pinch the spinal cord and nerves (a condition called spinal stenosis). The site of the injury may be painful.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups
The aging process and wear and tear on your spine can damage a disc in your back. A damaged disc can also be caused by repetitive activities or an injury to the spine.
Further examination that maybe required or requested
Making a degenerative disc disease diagnosis can require additional tests.
- Bone scan: To help the surgeon detect spinal problems such as osteoarthritis, fractures, or infections (which can all be related to DDD),
- Discogram or discography may be performed which can confirm the disc(s) as the source of the pain. Dye is injected into the disc(s) and if their damaged, for example herniated, the dye will leak out of the disc.
- Myelogram: to review spinal canal or spinal cord disorder and perhaps nerve compression causing pain and weakness, a myelogram may be performed. A special dye is injected into the area around the spinal cord and nerves followed by an x-ray or a CT scan to provide a detailed anatomic picture of the spine.
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. Thus far the AIMIS technique has been shown to be extremely safe with extremely low complication profile. Early data indicates success both clinical and on follow up MRI of over 80%.
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.