Patient Information

Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain persists after an injury or surgery where the source is hard to determine. Some causes of back pain include accidents, muscle strains and sports injuries. Once the reasons for the pain have been determined through a medical evaluation, treatment can focus on reducing back pain and improving mood and function

Degenerative Back Conditions

Degenerative changes in the spine are those that cause the loss of normal structure and/or function. They are not typically due to a specific injury but rather to age. Repeated strains, sprains and overuse of the back cause a gradual degeneration of the discs of the spine


Sciatica, a common kind of back pain, is a pain that runs along the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back and down the back of each leg

Spinal Deformities/Scoliosis

Spinal deformities occur if the spine curves or rotates beyond its normal curvature. Types of spinal deformities include scoliosis, kyphosis and spondylolisthesis

Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures range from painful compression fractures, often seen after minor trauma in osteoporotic patients, to more severe injuries such as burst fractures and fracture-dislocations that occur following auto accidents or falls from height. These severe injuries frequently result in spinal instability, with a high risk of spinal cord injury and pain

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when bulging discs, arthritic spurs and thickened tissues combine to compress the nerves traveling through the spinal canal. The narrowing process, which is gradual, reduces the space available for the spinal cord and nerves

Spinal Tumors

Spinal tumors are abnormal growths of tissue found inside the spinal column. Tumors that originate in the spine are called primary tumors and are rare. They can either be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous)


Spondylolysis is a specific defect in the connection between the vertebrae and a very common cause of low back pain. This defect can lead to small stress fractures (breaks) in the vertebrae that can weaken the bones so much that one slips out of place, a condition called spondylolisthesis

Spinal Implants

While most spinal conditions do not require surgery, there are times when surgery is necessary. Implant systems utilizing specially designed spinal instrumentation are often used in these surgical procedures. The implants are used to facilitate fusion, correct deformities, and stabilize and strengthen the spine.

Conditions that often require instrumented fusion surgery include slippage of the spine (spondylolisthesis), chronic degenerative disc disease, traumatic fracture, and other forms of spinal instability including scoliosis



Spinal implants can be summarized into several groups:


One of the original implants used in the spine. Rods are used, along with hooks and screws, to immobilize involved spinal levels, and to contour the spine into correct alignment. The rods are strong, yet have some flexibility so that the surgeon can shape the rod to match the contours of the patient's spine.

Pedicle Screws

These specially designed screws are carefully implanted into the pedicles of the spinal vertebrae. They have traditionally been used in the lumbar spine, and with recent advances in technology and technique, surgeons are now using them in the thoracic spine too. Screws provide strong "anchorage" points to which rods can be attached. Rods can then be contoured to correct deformities, and to facilitate fusion.


Used with rods and other implants to anchor them to vertebrae.


Often used in the cervical spine. Plates are manufactured to conform to the contour of the spine and are held in place by screws set into adjacent vertebrae. When the plate requires adjustment, a contouring tool is used to customize the fit to the patient's anatomy.


Often called “interbody” cages because they are most often placed between two vertebrae. Cages are small hollow devices with perforated walls. Bone graft or BMP is often packed into the cage to promote bone growth between the adjacent vertebrae. Cages are used to restore lost disc height resulting from a collapsed disc and to relieve pressure on nerve roots