Degenerative diseases of the spine are conditions related to the aging process. Recently, the developments in medicine and the advancements in diagnosis and treatment procedures intended for diseases have led to an increase in the elderly populations in the community, and consequently increased the incidence of senility-related degenerative spinal diseases. In conjunction with this, studies on the treatment of degenerative spinal diseases are rapidly increasing.
As we get older, the disc texture between the vertebrae begins to age and lose their fluid content to a certain extent. The degeneration (decay and aging) of the vertebrae begins with the degeneration of the disc tissue between the vertebrae. After the breakdown of the disc structure, degenerations occur in the joints between the vertebrae, and loosening occurs in the joint capsules. the conditions we encounter first in the degeneration process of the disc are tears and disc herniation in the tissue of annulus fibrosus that constitutes the outer part of the disc tissue.
The condition of degenerative disc disease progresses with the progression of the annular tears and the deterioration of the disc’s internal structure. It’s a painful condition. Disc herniations (lumbar herniated disc) may occur as a result of disc degeneration; however, disc herniations differ from degenerative disc disease in terms of diagnosis and treatment. If this degenerative process progresses, we may encounter spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal cord canal), spondylolisthesis (a condition in which one vertebra slides over the vertebra below it), and degenerative scoliosis.
The above-mentioned degenerative diseases of the spine usually appear proceedingly after the middle ages (after 50-55 years of age), and they are highly painful processes. The cause leading patients to have a surgery is usually their progressive pains that cannot be relieved despite non-surgical treatment procedures (drug treatment, physical therapy, epidural steroid treatments). Such a condition adversely affects the quality of life of patients. With increased pain, pathologies (slippage, scoliosis and canal stenosis) of patients found in their spine usually progress radiologically.
In degenerative spinal diseases, each patient is evaluated separately; and at the surgical decision stage, the risks and surgical benefits are discussed with patient relatives in detail, and the decision is taken accordingly. With effective surgical treatments to be administered as a result of the decision making process, a decreased pain and enhanced quality of life will be observed in patients.