What is adjacent segment degeneration? | Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada
Adjacent segment degeneration (also known as ASD) is a complication that happens after back surgery or spinal fusion surgery. The condition disturbs the joints around the vertebrae that were operated on (both above and below). If you have had fusion surgery and the pain you’re experiencing is traced back to the site that your surgery was performed, you may have ASD. This condition can also develop as a result of aging.
Symptoms usually include pain or neurological issues and if your doctor suspects ASD, will usually need to order an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI to determine the diagnosis.
The reason for ASD is usually pretty simple. After surgery, your joints are working twice as hard to get you moving because the part of your spine that has been operated on is immobile. The extra stress on the joints can sometimes lead to degeneration and significantly more wear and tear. ASD usually does not develop quickly – it takes time to progress, and presents itself as you age.
If you are diagnosed with ASD, your doctor will usually treat it conservatively with medications to manage pain, physical therapy, or steroid injections. It’s not likely that another surgery will be needed to correct the condition.
For more information on this condition, contact Dr. Cash at www.disclv.com.