Alternatives To Spinal Fusion Procedures – Anil Kesani MD
Dr. Anil Kesani explains that there are a number of alternatives to spinal fusion procedures including both nonsurgical as well as surgical. An orthopedic spine surgeon at SpineMD, Dr. Anil Kumar Kesani serves patients in the North Richland Hills and Dallas Fort Worth areas of Texas. Dr. Anil Kesani specializes in minimally invasive spinal surgeries as well as motion preserving procedures that serve as alternatives to spinal fusion procedures such as disc replacements.
Spinal fusion is a surgical technique that joins two or more vertebrae and helps eliminate pain associated with their movement. It is a good option if the neck or back pain is coming directly from movement of a degenerative intervertebral disc or degenerative facet joint. However, the fusion surgery can be quite invasive and some alternatives to spinal fusion procedures do exist.
The least invasive line of treatment is usually physical therapy, which can lessen pain by strengthening the muscles around the spine. Steroid injections can relieve inflammation-based pain but are often short-acting or temporary. Another minimally invasive alternative is radiofrequency ablation. This involves ablating the nerves or burning the small sensory nerves to the facet joints responsible for the pain, which causes them to stop sending pain signals to the brain.
Finally, surgical options that are alternatives to spinal fusion that exist include nerve decompression alone without fusion such as laminectomy and discectomy. Another option is a disc replacement, where the surgeon removes the disc that is either compressing or pinching the spinal cord or nerves and placing a disc replacement. Disc replacement are not recommended if patients suffer from neck pain from facet joint arthritis as this would allow the arthritic bone to continue to rub against each other to continue to cause pain. Another contraindication is if a patient has instability as this can predispose to the implant shifting. For more information about nonoperative treatments, including physical therapy and injections, visit Dr. Kesani’s YouTube site here.