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What is Facet Arthrosis? Bone Spurs and Spinal Stenosis
The answer to “What is Facet Arthrosis?” is found in the anatomy of the spine. Each vertebra in the spinal column has a pair of facet joints, which acts as a flexible multi-directional hinge. The facet joints are located on the spine’s posterior column, or the rear of our backs. Facet arthrosis is a degenerative spinal condition like arthritis in which bony enlargements, called osteophytes or bone spurs, grow and enlarge the facet joints. It occurs most commonly in the lumbar spine, or lower back region. These bone spurs may protrude into surrounding tissue, and impinge on nerves emanating from the spinal column. One or both facets may be affected. (The latter condition is termed bilateral facet arthrosis.). Symptoms include pain or tingling sensation, numbness and weakness in the extremities, restricted motion, and pain when walking, termed spinal claudication. The bone spurs usually develop as the body’s natural repairing mechanism attempts to protect the vertebra from pressure or other stresses. In fact, lumbar facet arthrosis may develop secondarily to lumbar spinal stenosis.
The TOPS Alternative for Treating Facet Arthrosis
When facet arthrosis occurs secondarily to moderate to severe lumbar spinal stenosis, surgical removal of the bone spurs and a lumbar laminectomy may be indicated. Traditionally spine fusion surgery has been performed after this procedure to stabilize the spine. Now surgeons can perform a TOPS Posterior Arthroplasty as an alternative to spinal fusion surgery with proven better outcomes. TOPS Posterior Arthroplasty addresses two critical functions of the spine – re-establishing stability and maintaining motion. This advanced implant stabilizes and creates a controlled range of movement of the posterior spine, which enables patients with symptoms of spinal stenosis with or without facet arthrosis to regain their ability to bend, flex, walk, and enjoy the normal activities of life that were so painful before surgery. Talk to your doctor about all your treatment options, and find out if Posterior Arthroplasty is the right solution for you.