Osteophyte Removal

What are osteophytes?

Osteophytes are bone spurs, and the procedure to remove them is called an osteophytectomy or osteophyte surgery. Most of the time bone spurs do not cause severe pain, and many people who have them are not even aware of them. In some cases though, bone spurs can cause significant pain in addition to other problems, so surgical removal of them becomes necessary. There are two types of surgical procedures to remove bone spurs, depending on their location and the severity of the condition. The two procedures are open osteophytectomy or arthroscopic osteophytectomy.

Even though in many situations bone spurs do not need any treatment, osteophytectomy is sometimes necessary if the spurs cause damage or irritation to other tissues. For instance, if osteophytes are located on the spine and neck, they can pinch or put pressure on the nerves or on the spinal column. This can cause tingling or numbness in other areas, like the hands and feet. Bone spurs in the neck area can also cause more severe problems such as difficulty breathing or swallowing.

Bone spurs have a tendency to form in the joints. This can possibly lead to tendinitis, a condition that can cause immobility and severe pain. Knee and shoulder joints are most often affected, and when osteophytes occur here, osteophytectomy may be required to enable a person to move his lower leg or arm. Bone spurs that form on the toes or fingers can cause pain as well as disfigurement. Often surgery to remove osteophytes called osteophytectomy is done at the same time as some arthritis surgeries.

Risk Factors of Osteophytes

Risk factors for the development of osteophytes include:

- age,

- body mass index,

- physical activity,

- other genetic and environmental factors.

Osteophytes can cause pain, limit a range of motion, affect the quality of life, and cause multiple symptoms at the spine. The primary aim during osteophytectomy for degenerative spine has been either removal of osteophyte for direct decompression of the neural structures or indirectly to perform surgical procedures that will increase the spinal canal dimension and reduce the pinching effect of the osteophyte.

Presence of Osteophytes

Presence of osteophytes anywhere in the spine can be a clear evidence of the presence of local vertical spinal instability. Presence of osteophytes by themselves has no clinical relevance unless it has associated symptoms.

A symptom of local neck pain can be due to several causes that include muscle stress, ligamental tear, and similar such cause. However, when symptoms are progressive, are related to neck movements, are long-standing and when associated with radicular pain, suspicion of instability can be on the mind. And when radiological images show the presence of osteophytes, the suspicion of instability can be strengthened.

Presence of osteophytes can provide any evidence of instability and when the symptoms of radiculopathy or myelopathy co-exist, the need for treatment of instability becomes necessary. The need for directly handling and osteophytectomy can be avoided.

Osteophytes arise and grow secondary to local spinal instability as soon as the issue of instability is addressed, there is a potential of osteophyte regressing in size.

Treatment

Osteophytes are frequently observed in spinal imaging of an elderly. The primary aim of osteophytectomy treatment is to resect the osteophytes as widely as possible and to decompress the cord of indentation. Osteophyte formation is usually at multiple levels and essentially circumferential around the entire spinal and root canal, around the vertebral body and around the facets.

Osteophytes result in focal neural compression and as a consequence of wide and circumferential presence, in the spinal canal stenosis. Osteophyte formation is related to the vertical height reduction related to the telescoping effect on spinal segments. Disc space height reduction results in buckling and subsequent separation of intervertebral ligaments from the bone.

Bone neoformation or osteophyte formation in the region is similar to "callous-formation" related to periosteal separation or reaction in long bone fractures. Osteophyte formation is a relentlessly progressive process that develops over several months and years.

The slow and progressively increasing phenomenon of osteophyte formation results in deformation of spinal cord and roots. Frequent identification of large and indenting osteophytes without any neural symptoms is the testimony of the slow and long-standing pathogenic process and demonstrates the accommodation of the compression by the natural neural elasticity.

- Open osteophyte surgery is typically used to remove large bone spurs or in more serious cases, and it may require a short hospital stay. In this procedure, the tissue around the bone spur is cut, the osteophytes are removed and the bone surrounding the area is filed until it is smooth.

- Arthroscopic osteophyte surgery is less invasive and can often be performed under local anesthesia in a doctor's office. Small osteophytes and uncomplicated cases are successfully treated with this procedure. Small incisions are made in the skin, and delicate instruments are used to remove the osteophyte and smooth the remaining bone with the assistance of a very tiny camera to guide the surgeon.

It typically takes a few to several weeks to recover from osteophytectomy, depending on what procedure was completed. Osteophytectomy requires a longer time to heal. Rest of the area is recommended in most cases to ensure proper healing and surgeons usually request the area be kept clean and dry to prevent infection.

You might also like to read:
- Herniated Disk Surgery,
- In Situ Spinal Fusion.

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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers