Spinal stabilization, or spinal immobilization, is necessary for patients who suffer from a great deal of instability in their spine. This instability can be caused by a number of things, including trauma, injury, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, kyphosis and more. The degree of stabilization necessary will depend on the severity of the condition and the surgeon’s assessment. Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health can help you understand your options and what must be done to provide stability for your spine. Call Call407-303-5452 to discuss your options or make an appointment.

What Does Stabilization Involve?

Stabilization is also called immobilization, and for good reason. Spinal stabilization involves the installation of hardware and bone grafts to fuse segments of the spine. This can be done to treat any number of degenerative conditions, including scoliosis and herniated discs. Additional causes of spine injury sometimes requiring stabilization include:

  • Blunt force trauma sustained in an auto accident or sports injury
  • Trauma sustained during a fall from a height, leading to spinal fractures, spinal compression and other conditions
  • Spinal fractures stemming from bone loss due to osteoporosis
  • Trauma sustained from a gunshot wound

How Is Stabilization Achieved?

There are several different ways in which the spine can be stabilized. All of them require surgery, though Dr. Chetan Patel of AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health prefers to use the least invasive procedures possible for each patient to treat their condition. While open surgery through the back is still done (posterior procedures), less invasive treatments are available, including lateral and anterior procedures (side and front entry to the spine).

Laparoscopic surgery combines the use of noninvasive techniques and tools to ensure the surgeon can make smaller incisions, which results in lessened recovery time, reduced healing and less pain. Using laparoscopic tools, the surgeon will enter the spine and remove any debris (herniated disc material, for instance) from the injury site. Nerves will be repositioned to allow decompression, and then the surgeon will graft donor bone to the vertebra where healing is necessary.

Once the donor bone has been put in place, the surgeon will use hardware to secure it during the healing process. This hardware can be rods and wires, hooks and wires or newer style pedicle screws and rods depending on the surgeon’s choice and the procedure in question. Hardware alone is not capable of stabilizing the spine – it will deteriorate over time. To fully stabilize the spine, it must be fused.

A Note on Fusion

Fusion, or spinal stabilization, does eliminate movement between vertebras in the spine. This immobilization is necessary to prevent instability due to degeneration, additional spine curvature from scoliosis or kyphosis, and to eliminate pain and discomfort. This immobilization does result in decreased mobility in the spine, but it does not detract from quality of life or overall patient mobility. This is particularly true with minimally invasive procedures in which the smallest minimum number of vertebras are fused.

To learn more about spinal stabilization or to discuss spinal your spinal injury, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health for an appointment by calling Call407-303-5452.