Osteotomy: Overview, Advantages, & Eligibility Criteria
Spinal deformities can develop for various reasons, and their symptoms can be painful, embarrassing, or debilitating. Spinal osteotomies are surgical procedures that are widely used to treat an extensive range of spinal deformities.
An osteotomy is a restructuring procedure that involves removing sections of the vertebrae, or the entire vertebrae themselves, to induce proper alignment of the spine. There are different levels of osteotomy that can be selected, chosen according to the degree and location of the spinal curvature, as well as how much restructuring is required.
The first level of osteotomy, referred to as a Smith-Peterson Osteotomy, removes the posterior ligaments and facet joints, and treats curves of up to 20 degrees. However, it is important to have healthy intervertebral discs if this route is selected.
The next level of osteotomy, called a Pedicle Subtraction, repairs deformities in spinal curvature of the lumbar spine that do not exceed 30 degrees of abnormality. During this procedure, the posterior ligaments and facet joints will be removed, along with a wedge-shaped section of bone. This removal will enable the bones to subsequently fit together in a more functional manner.
The final, and most extreme degree of osteotomy, is called a Vertebral Column Resection and involves removal of one or more intact vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs. Used for extreme deformities with debilitating curvature, a spinal fusion will be required to restore structural stability following this more invasive procedure.
Advantages of an Osteotomy
The benefits of spinal osteotomies greatly outweigh the impediments of living life with the debilitating side effects of an extreme spinal deformity. Severe curves in the spine can induce pain, stiffness, loss of movement, the inability to stand up straight or direct your gaze forward, and difficulty with ambulation (walking) or completing your everyday activities. Successful at addressing these incapacitating side effects, spinal osteotomies also boast the following benefits:
- With limited corrective options for spinal deformities, osteotomies are proven to provide relief
- Advances in the surgical materials allows for longer lasting solutions to spinal deformity
- Advances in surgical techniques permit for reduced blood loss and less risk of infection
- Osteotomies restore mobility and the ability to participate in everyday activities
- Pain, tingling, numbness, & symptoms related to nerve compression are greatly reduced
Dr. Jason E Lowenstein of the Advanced Spine Center is an expert in the field of spinal deformity. With years of fellowship training and surgical experience, Dr. Lowenstein and his team are world-renowned for their surgical precision in scoliosis and kyphosis correction. Whether your spinal deformity requires physical therapy, pain management, or minimally invasive surgery, Dr. Lowenstein and his team of Top Doctors can help you to identity and personalize a treatment plan that best suits you.
Eligibility Requirements for an Osteotomy
If you are suffering from the debilitating symptoms associated with a spinal deformity, then surgical intervention may be a suitable option for you. Extreme curvature in the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine, inability to complete daily tasks due to the spine’s extreme curvature, pain associated with spinal deformity, or neurological symptoms such as numbness or tingling, are all indicators that a surgical intervention may be needed. If you are experiencing even more emergent symptoms like loss of bowel or bladder control, please seek immediate medical attention.
Because spinal deformities are progressive, it is important to address these conditions as soon as they become apparent. The degree of spinal curvature and the negative symptoms associated with it will worsen with daily wear and tear. The sooner these deformities can be treated, the better your post-surgical outcomes will be.