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Impinging Facet Joints

Located on either side of each vertebra, the facet joints are responsible for allowing flexible movement of the spine. As the body ages, however (and occasionally as the result of injury), these facet joints can deteriorate. To compensate for the weakening joint structure, the body may begin to produce osteophytes, or bone spurs.

Unfortunately, these bone spurs often make matters worse. Bone spurs projecting from facet joints can protrude into the spinal canal, impinging on nerves. Bone spurs on facet joints can also cause problems when they press up against one of the spongy discs that separate the vertebrae. This pressure can either cause the disc to bulge out into the spinal canal, pinching nerves, or it can cause the disc to herniate, sending the inner matter out into the canal as well.

Available Treatment for Impinging Facet Joints
If symptoms from impinging facet joints cannot be managed with medication and physical therapy, surgery can effectively eliminate the problem by removing the problematic bone spurs and relieving impinging pressure on surrounding nerves. New techniques make such a procedure much less traumatic than traditional open back surgery. In fact, the new surgery can be performed in an outpatient setting.

Known as one of the foremost spine surgery centers in the nation, The Bonati Institute for Arthroscopic Surgery has been a pioneer in the field of surgery for impinging facet joints and other spine conditions for nearly 25 years. Using extremely precise lasers and patented surgical tools manipulated with the help of an endoscopic camera, this minimally invasive method reduces recovery time, discomfort and complications while significantly raising success rates. For an overview of available procedures and to request a free MRI review, please see www.bonati.com.

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