When the spinal disc and joints are already unstable due to strong degeneration, the pain may only be reduced by stabilizing the mobile segments. With the stabilizing procedure, medically known as spondylodesis, the damaged intervertebral disc is commenly removed and then replaced by a supporting implant or cage. In order to assure undisturbed healing, additional screws can be put in the vertebral body and connected by rods along the spine.
After this operation, the spine is strengthened immediately. Final stability however is only achieved after bony bridges between the vertebral bodies have grown. If only a short part of the spine is stabilized, you will not feel any loss of movability.
A spinal reconstruction may be necessary with significant misalignments and instability. This is also known as corrective spondylodesis or vertebral replacement. The operation principles are similar to those using a rod and screw system. In the case of significant misalignments, however, significant bending of the spine has to be evened out which requires treatment of many segments. Patients who cannot stand up straight anymore, regain a stabile body posture from a spinal reconstruction. However, depending on the extent of stabilization, patients should refrain from sports such gymnastics and cycling.
In certain cases, it may not even be necessary to surgically expose the spine. Instead, access to the affected region of the spine may also be possible by small incisions. This method has to advantage that there is less pain and faster recovery after the operation.
As congenial or acquired instability with spondylolisthesis may cause severe back pain, also in this case the out-of-place vertebra can be repositioned and thus brought into a natural position. After that, a normal weight distribution can be achieved.