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Osteophytes (bone spurs) are a bony growth or cartilage protrusion that forms in a degenerating joint. Osteophytes can develop as marginal (on the periphery of joints) or central (mostly in the knee and hip). The majority of people over the age of 50 show some type of osteophytes upon radiographical examination. Most of these osteophytes, however, are without recognizable symptoms.

When symptoms are present, diagnosing the presence of osteophytes is a combination of a clinical exam of the joints and x-rays. Once the presence of osteophytes is confirmed, the treatment will depend on the severity of the disease. Since osteophytes are most commonly associated with osteoarthritis, treatment for the underlying disease process is important.

Pain Relief from Osteophytes
If the symptoms are significant, surgery may be the only option for symptomatic relief. Common results from the damage of osteoarthritis include narrowing of the joint space, loss of cartilage, and bone spurs. It's no longer necessary to go through the long process and recovery from an open back surgical procedure to resolve the pain caused by osteophytes.

With the advanced microsurgical technology available a The Bonati Institute, surgical intervention consists of an outpatient procedure that requires no hospitalization. Using only a local anesthetic, the osteophytes are removed to relieve the pressure on the nerve roots in the spinal column. Releasing the pressure on the nerve endings is necessary to obtain relief from the pain that can accompany the presence of osteophytes.

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