Full function requires motion
Motion preservation refers to the preservation of natural movement and mobility in the spine, particularly when treating spinal conditions or performing surgical procedures. The aim is to maintain or restore the normal range of motion in the spine while addressing the underlying problem or pathology,”explains Spine Specialist Rolando Garcia, MD.
Traditionally, some spinal conditions have been treated using spinal fusion surgery, which involves permanently joining two or more vertebrae together. While fusion can be effective in stabilizing the spine, it restricts motion in the fused segment, potentially altering the biomechanics of the spine and placing additional stress on adjacent segments. This can lead to accelerated degeneration of adjacent discs and potentially necessitate further surgeries in the future.
In contrast, motion preservation techniques and technologies are focused on maintaining or restoring the natural movement and flexibility of the spine. These techniques aim to address the underlying condition while allowing for continued motion in the treated area, potentially reducing the risk of adjacent segment degeneration.
There are several motion preservation strategies and technologies employed in spine surgery, including:
- Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR): This procedure involves removing a damaged or degenerated disc in the spine and replacing it with an artificial disc implant. ADR aims to restore the natural motion of the spine while relieving pain and maintaining stability.
- Dynamic Stabilization: Dynamic stabilization techniques involve using specialized devices, such as flexible rods, dynamic screws, or interspinous spacers, to stabilize the spine while still allowing controlled motion. These devices can be used to treat conditions such as degenerative disc disease or spinal instability.
- Total Facet Arthroplasty: This procedure involves replacing the damaged facet joints in the spine with prosthetic joints that replicate the natural joint structure. Total facet arthroplasty aims to restore normal motion and stability in the affected segment.
- Motion-Sparing Decompression: Some minimally invasive decompression techniques aim to remove or relieve pressure on nerves while preserving the surrounding structures and maintaining spinal motion.
Motion preservation approaches are often preferred in specific cases, such as younger patients or those with a need for continued spinal mobility. However, the selection of the most appropriate treatment option depends on various factors, including the specific spinal condition, the patient’s overall health, and individual considerations.