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Understanding the problem

Spondylitis is one form of more than 100 types of arthritis. Meaning “inflammation of the vertebrae,” “spondylitis” (more specifically, ankylosing spondylitis ) is a term for an autoimmune disease that is characterized by inflammation that attacks the sacroiliac (SI) joints, which connect the pelvis and sacrum. From here, inflammation and stiffness typically spreads upward, affecting the vertebrae and facet joints of the lumbar (lower back), thoracic (mid-back) and cervical (neck) regions of the spine. Long-term, or chronic, inflammation can erode the concave vertebral endplates between which intervertebral discs are sandwiched, which eventually flattens and squares off the end of individual vertebrae. The discs, tendons and ligaments along the way can also be affected by inflammation and eventually ossify, a process in which soft tissue progressively turns to bone. As a result, the ossified spinal components can lead to complete spinal fusion and a number of spinal deformities. The condition can cause varying degrees of localized joint and disc pain, stiffness, and tenderness. Although neuropathic symptoms are not a primary result of ankylosing spondylitis, shooting pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness can arise if spinal cord and nerve root compression occur.

Understanding who suffers

Spondylitis is a complex spine condition because it can be caused by certain factors of spinal arthritis, as well as a side effect of a different spine condition or a symptom of certain diseases. There is no known cause of spondylitis, but many researchers suggest that genetics may play a huge factor in patients who develop this condition. 90% of patients with ankylosing spondylitis are carriers of a specific gene that may be an indication of an individual’s risk of developing this spine condition. In addition to genetics, this spine condition largely affects men more than women. It is also predominately present in individuals ages 17–45.

Spondylitis is often present as a side effect of another spine condition, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Injury
  • Spinal infection
  • Tuberculosis
Potential Signs and Symptoms

Generally speaking, the most common symptom associated with spondylitis is severe lower back pain. Other common symptoms include:

  • Neck and back stiffness
  • Unusual spinal curvature
  • Limited range of motion
  • Chronic or brief episodes of discomfort when sitting, walking or standing
  • Swollen, warm or tender facet joints
  • Fatigue

These symptoms typically appear in early adulthood and progress slowly. Individuals with the most severe cases of spondylitis may develop fused vertebrae, causing impaired mobility.

As with many other spinal conditions, spondylitis may also trigger pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Some patients report experiencing eye inflammation, knee and hip pain, weight loss and difficulty breathing.

Examinations Usually Required

Spondylitis is usually diagnosed by a rheumatologist - a physician who is specially trained to detect and treat certain diseases that affect the bones, joints, muscles and connective tissues.
When evaluating a patient for spondylitis, a rheumatologist will likely begin by performing a physical exam to check for tenderness and inflammation along the spine, sacroiliac joints and pelvic bones. Spinal mobility will also be evaluated. If this physical exam indicates the need for further testing, an MRI may be recommended to get a closer look at the spine.

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:

Some types of spondylitis include:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis - Stiffness and pain originate in the lower back and then progress to the upper back. In severe cases, the affected spinal vertebrae can calcify and fuse together, causing acute stiffness.
  • Reiter’s syndrome - Pain, inflammation and swelling affect the joints in the low back, pelvis, fingers, feet and toes.
  • Psoriatic arthritis - Associated with a skin condition called psoriasis, this form of arthritis affects large joints, such as the hip and sacroiliac joints, and is accompanied by scaly, red skin patches.
  • Enteropathic arthritis - A type of spinal arthritis that extends to the intestinal wall, this condition can cause abdominal pain as well as joint inflammation.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups

While it is difficult to determine the cause of spondylitis, there are certain risk factors that may increase the chance of developing this condition. Researchers are inclined to believe that genetics impact an individual’s chance of developing spondylitis because 90% of the individuals with this condition have a specific gene present in their genetic makeup. Scientists have developed blood tests to test an individual for this gene to determine the risk of developing spondylitis.

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.