Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
Ashraf F. Guirgues, MD, FAAOS
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery & Robotic Surgery located in Morehead City, NC, Jacksonville, NC & Swansboro, NC
Chronic back conditions like spondylolisthesis can cause excessive movement in your spinal joints that lead to lumbar instability. If you have lumbar instability, fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon Ashraf Guirgues, MD, and the team at Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery specialize in performing minimally invasive spinal fusion. Many patients are able to benefit from the team's expertise in using robotic surgery to perform exceptionally accurate spinal fusion procedures that resolve lumbar instability. Find out more by calling the Morehead City, Swansboro, or Jacksonville, North Carolina, location, or use the online booking form today.
Lumbar Instability Q&A
What is lumbar instability?
Lumbar instability is a problem with the structures in your lower back that causes it to lose its normal strength. The result is excessive movement in your lumbar spine that can lead to lower back pain and loss of function.
Several structures help to support and stabilize your spine, including the:
- Spinal muscles
- Connective tissues
- Spinal cord
- Spinal column
There are also facet joints linking the vertebrae that make up your spinal column. If an injury or spinal disorder causes your spinal joints to become dysfunctional or too flexible, your spine can destabilize.
Your body often responds to problems like these by generating extra bone to restabilize the spine. Unfortunately, these bone spurs often cause nerve irritation and compression, which makes your back problems worse.
What conditions cause lumbar instability?
One of the main causes of lumbar instability is spondylolisthesis. In this condition, one of the vertebra in your lower spine slips forward, so it's out of place. There are various types of spondylolisthesis, the most common being degenerative spondylolisthesis.
As the name suggests, degenerative spondylolisthesis results from a gradual deterioration in the structures that make up your spine. Degenerative disc disease sets in, causing the spongy intervertebral discs to dry and harden, and osteoarthritis develops in the facet joints.
The joints and ligaments that connect the bones weaken as a result. Eventually, a vertebra on one side of a worn disc moves out of place and slides over the vertebra below it. Narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) and radiculopathy (nerve compression) are common complications of degenerative spondylolisthesis.
How is lumbar instability treated?
The Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery team advises non-surgical treatments for most patients, to begin with. These treatments are often sufficient to relieve the problems caused by lumbar instability, so you don't need to undergo surgery.
Physical therapy programs help stretch and strengthen your lower back to reduce the symptoms of lumbar instability, and oral pain-relieving medications can help relieve lower back pain. If these approaches aren't sufficient, epidural steroid injections use a powerful anti-inflammatory to reduce pain and swelling.
What surgeries can help with lumbar instability?
If your symptoms of lumbar instability don't improve using conservative approaches, the Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery team offers advanced surgical options such as minimally invasive laminectomy and spinal fusion.
Laminectomy is a procedure where the team opens up your spinal canal, removing bone spurs and other tissues that are compressing your nerves. To reinforce the unstable area of your spine, they fuse the vertebrae in that area using a bone graft that permanently joins the bones together.
The Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery team uses minimally invasive spine surgery and very often robotic surgery techniques to perform these procedures.
To find out more about treatments for lumbar instability, call Carolinas Center for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery today or book an appointment online.