Motion Preserving Spine Surgeries

Motion-preserving spine surgeries, also known as motion-sparing or motion-preserving techniques, are a set of surgical procedures aimed at treating various spinal conditions while preserving the natural movement and flexibility of the spine. These surgeries are designed to alleviate pain, restore function, and maintain the normal range of motion in the spine.

Traditional spine surgeries, such as spinal fusion, involve permanently joining two or more vertebrae together to stabilize the spine and reduce pain. While fusion surgeries are effective in certain cases, they limit the motion between the fused vertebrae, which can lead to increased stress and degeneration of adjacent spinal segments over time.

Motion-preserving spine surgeries, on the other hand, strive to maintain the mobility of the spine by preserving the natural structure and function of the intervertebral discs and facet joints. These procedures aim to address specific spinal conditions while allowing for continued movement and flexibility, thus potentially reducing the risk of adjacent segment degeneration.

There are several types of motion-preserving spine surgeries, each designed for different spinal conditions:

  • Artificial disc replacement (ADR): In this procedure, the degenerated or damaged intervertebral disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disc implant. The artificial disc is designed to mimic the natural disc's function, allowing for preserved motion at the treated level.
  • Dynamic stabilization: This technique involves the use of specialized implants, such as pedicle screws, rods, and flexible devices, to stabilize the spine while still allowing controlled motion. These implants provide support and stability to the spine while preserving flexibility.
  • Interspinous process devices (IPDs): IPDs are small implants placed between the spinous processes (bony projections at the back of the spine) to limit excessive extension of the spine while preserving normal movement in other directions. IPDs are commonly used in the treatment of spinal stenosis and other conditions that cause spinal instability during extension.
  • Facet replacement: Facet joints are responsible for the movement and stability of the spine. Facet replacement surgery involves replacing the damaged or arthritic facet joint with an artificial joint, maintaining the normal motion of the spine.

The selection of a motion-preserving spine surgery technique depends on various factors, including the patient's specific condition, the location and severity of the spinal problem, and the patient's overall health.

Benefits of motion-preserving spine surgeries may include reduced postoperative pain, quicker recovery, preserved motion and flexibility, and potentially a lower risk of adjacent segment degeneration compared to traditional fusion surgeries. However, these procedures are not suitable for all spinal conditions, and the decision for surgery should be made in consultation with a qualified spine surgeon based on individual circumstances.