The goal of lumbar dynamic stabilization/soft stabilization is preservation of as much of the natural spinal anatomy as possible, while maintaining flexibility and allowing the different segments of the spine to move and rotate normally. Depending upon the nature of the disease affecting the lumbar dynamic stabilization patient, the surgeon may perform decompression of nerve roots, reformation of vertebral facets and repair/removal of affected disk segments as necessary to augment the stabilization procedure, though each dynamic stabilization procedure has the following in common:
Surgery is performed under sedation plus local anesthesia in a hospital operating room, with almost all procedures taking a posterior approach to accessing the spine. Unlike the implantation of rigid rods used with spinal fusion surgery, lumbar dynamic stabilization surgery uses lumbar pedicle screws, which are inserted into the strongest part of the vertebrae above and below the source of the patient’s low back pain. An active rod that acts like a suspension spring is then placed between the screws to provide the stabilization needed, while preserving spinal movement.
A feature of lumbar dynamic stabilization that makes the procedure more attractive than traditional spinal fusion is that it is less invasive. The surgical technique required for lumbar dynamic stabilization/flexible stabilization involves making a smaller incision, reducing the amount of damage to the tissues beneath the skin.
Less invasive spine surgery uses specially designed instruments, which aid the surgeon’s visualization of the area to be operated on, typically employing tubular retractors which allow the surgeon to make a small incision but visualize a larger area beneath this small incision.
Less invasive surgical techniques are in continuous development and are currently used to treat conditions such as spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease, two conditions for which lumbar dynamic stabilization has shown promise as an effective treatment.
The benefits of less invasive spine surgery may include reduced scaring following the operation and less damage to the surrounding tissues beneath the skin, including less pain and blood loss. The benefits may also include a quicker postoperative recovery and a quicker return to a normal lifestyle.