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A Better Approach to Spinal Bone Spur Surgery Renowned Spine Surgeon Dr. Kaixuan Liu Explains Endoscopic Foraminotomy
Date:5/31/2013

West Orange, NJ (PRWEB) May 31, 2013

To most people, the term “bone spur” brings to mind a cowboy and his boots. But for someone with spinal bone spurs, the term can have a decidedly different association. If they develop in the wrong place, spinal bone spurs can press against nerves and cause serious symptoms: intense pain, decreased range of motion, tingling or numbness, even difficulty swallowing or breathing. In those cases, an operation may be the only option. But luckily, according to Kaixuan Liu, MD, PhD, chief surgeon at Atlantic Spine Center, today there are choices in bone spur surgery, including a new and advanced procedure known as endoscopic foraminotomy.

Bone spurs, known formally as osteophytes, are small, smooth knobs that can form on the bones as a result of injury—the traumatic kind as well as the day in, day out, wear-and-tear kind that comes with aging, says Dr. Liu. In many cases, osteophytes are one of the damaging effects of osteoarthritis, which triggers the formation of more bone in and around the structures that are being eroded.

Most people are surprised to learn that bone spurs are extremely common—almost everyone will develop them at some point in their lives—and often produce no symptoms. “Bone spurs on their own are completely benign, in most cases just another part of getting older,” Dr. Liu explains. “A patient can have them for many years without even knowing it.” But he estimates that about 40 percent of people with spinal bone spurs will eventually experience nerve compression and its attendant symptoms.

Problems arise if bone spurs develop around one or more foramen, which are openings in the bony spine that surround the spinal nerves as they branch away from the spinal cord. In those cases, the spurs narrow the foramen, which th
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