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Facet Disease

In the spine, the facet joints are what allow the vertebrae to move in a flexible, controlled manner. Each vertebra has two facet joints, one on either side. Like knee or elbow joints, the facet joints are covered with slick articular cartilage, which allows for motion without excess friction. These facet joints are frequently in motion. Over time, like the other joints of the body, wear and tear may lead them to degenerate.

When the cartilage in the facet joints deteriorates, the body may try to compensate for the weakened joints by producing osteophytes, or bone spurs. The joints can also become enlarged. However, the bone spurs and enlargement often only complicate the problem by projecting into the spinal canal.

Treatment Options for Facet Disease
Facet disease is a form of osteoarthritis, and symptoms typically include localized pain in the joint area along with decreased motion of the spine. If the degenerating facets have led to pinched nerves, symptoms may also be present in the areas of the body connected to those particular nerve roots. Additionally, facet disease can cause the surrounding muscles to spasm and can lead to crooking and worsened posture.

MRI imaging equipment is helpful in diagnosing facet disease. If the condition is serious, surgery can be beneficial. The Bonati Institute for Arthroscopic Surgery, located in Florida, offers a variety of effective laser-based procedures addressing the root causes of facet disease and other chronic neck and back conditions. Arthroscopic surgery is associated with a shorter recovery time, reduced pain, fewer complications and less tissue damage than open back surgery. For details, please see www.bonati.com.

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