Orange County Neurosurgery

What is Dynamic Stabilization?

Dynamic stabilization is an alternative procedure done on patients with spinal disc problems who do not want to go through spinal fusion surgery. Both surgical procedures are similar in a way because they both stabilize the spine using rods and screws, but unlike traditional fusion surgery, this procedure allows for more mobility in the spine. Another advantage of this procedure is that smaller incisions are made, lowering the risk of nerve and tissue damage. People who go through this surgical procedure also enjoy the benefit of a shorter recovery time and the ability to have the rods removed if necessary.

Ideal Candidates for Dynamic Stabilization

This procedure is most commonly done in conjunction with several spinal decompression procedures which may destabilize the spine. It is also one way to add spinal stability in patients with degenerative disc disease (DDD). This type of stabilization technique can be done on patients up to 65 years old; however, this procedure is more commonly done on younger patients with more flexible backs and no signs of osteoporosis.

In order to determine whether or not a patient is an ideal candidate for this procedure, an MRI is usually ordered. Based on the results of the imaging tests, a surgeon can then recommend what procedure would work best on the patient.

The Spinal Stabilization Process

This procedure takes roughly 1-5 hours depending on the extent of the problem and the procedures that need to be done before stabilizing the spine. Patients are put under general anesthesia to keep them asleep for the whole duration of the surgery. Before performing a dynamic stabilization, the surgeon first decompresses the spinal nerves and addresses any other spinal issue the patient may present with. When all is clear, the surgeon then implants the rods onto the spine so that the discs are stabilized and movement is limited.

There are a number of different devices a surgeon can use for spinal stabilization. Each of these devices requires a different technique in order to put them in place. The decision to use a particular device would depend on how much spinal stabilization the patient needs. Once the device is completely and securely implanted, the surgeon can then suture up the incisions made and the patient may be fitted with a compression garment or a back brace to keep the device in place while the patient is healing.

After surgery, patients should expect a 2-3 day hospital stay for recovery and pain management. In order to speed up the healing process, the patient should follow post-operative instructions and refrain from performing strenuous activities when released from the hospital. There is no exact time frame for a patient to make a full recovery. The time it takes for the spine to heal after surgery depends on many factors including the extent of the operation, as well as the patient’s age and overall health. In order to increase mobility in the spine, physical therapy can also be done some time after surgery.

In order to make an informed decision on whether or not dynamic stabilization is the right procedure for you, call us and schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled and reputable surgeons.

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