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Glossary of Terms

  Anterior - front; anterior refers to the approach used by the surgeon to reach the spine through the front of the the body. Cervical and Lumbar surgeries are done anteriorly.
  Allograft -a piece tissue transplanted from a bone bank to replace one that's damaged or diseased.
  Autograft - a piece of the patient's own tissue transplanted to replace one that's damaged or diseased. Generally, the tissue is taken from the hip.

Artificial Disc - a prosthetic devise with an elastic nucleus similar to a natural disc. (See Bryan Artificial Cervical Disc or Prestige Artificial Cervical Disc.)

A/P X-ray -
X-rays taken with a frontal and back view of the patient's spine

Bulging Disc -
A bulging disc is a slight protrusion of the center of the disc (nucleus pulposus) into the spinal canal. In a bulging disc, the annulus fibrosus (outer ring) has not been ruptured.

  Cell Saver - An interoperative machine used to salvage blood lost during the surgical procedure. The machine spins, washes, and filters blood, returning the red blood cells to the patient.
  Cervical spine - refers to the neck; the uppermost region of the backbone, including: the first seven vertebrae, the nerve elements (spinal cord and nerve roots) inside them, and all supporting structures that join them together.
  Degenerative Disc Disease - Degenerative Disc Disease refers to the loss of loss of hydration in the disc and weakening of the annulus(outer lining of the disc). Trauma can cause the annulus to tear and disc material leaks out and presses on a nerve. Degenerative disc disease is very common in the human population but is not always symptomatic.
  Discs - fibrous cartilage pads that lie between the spinal vertebrae; each is made up of two parts: a jelly-like center (the nucleus pulposus) that loses moisture with age, and a tough outer ring (the annulus fibrosus) that can split with age or injury.
  Discectomy - the cutting out (-ectomy) of an intervertebral disc.
  Graft - a piece of tissue transplanted to replace one that's damaged or diseased; in this case, a bone graft may be used to fill the emptied intervertebral disc space.
  Herniated disc - the rupture of the center of an intervertebral disc through its fibrous outer ring and causes compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots; also called ruptured disc or (incorrectly) slipped disc.
  Kyphosis - Kyphosis is an abnormal increase in normal kyphotic (posterior) curvature of the thoracic spine which can result in a noticeable round back deformity. (See Kyphosis)
  Lateral X-ray - An X-ray taken from the side. (See Spine Imaging)
  Lordosis - Lordosis is the abnormal increase in normal lordotic (anterior) curvature of the lumbar spine. This can lead to a noticeable "sway-back" appearance.
  Myelopathy - Direct compression on the spinal cord itself. Compression causes weakness and numbness in the arms and legs. The patient may also experience trouble walking, stumbling, or a loss of bowel or bladder control.
  Osteoid Osteomas - Osteoid Osteomas is a benign cancer usually found in adolescents. Patients usually present with a complaint of severe pain. The treatment plan often includes a CT scan, anti-inflammatory medication, and surgery.
  Osteophytes - Osteophytes or bone spurs, are bony overgrowth at the edge of the joint possibly as a result of arthritis. This bony overgrowth can impinge nerves in the spinal canal, and cause pain.
  Radiculopathy- Pressure on the nerve (not the spinal cord). Causes nerve pain, such as pain, numbness, tingling, sharp pain, or weakness in the arms or legs. Radiculopathy may be amenable to local treatments such as steroid blocks.
  Spinal Cord Monitoring- During surgery the physician monitors the integrity of the spinal cord. The machine used monitors somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP).
  Thoracic Spine - refers to the mid back; the region of the backbone, including: the twelve vertebrae T1-T12, the nerve elements (spinal cord and nerve roots) inside them, and all supporting structures that join them together
  Whiplash - Whiplash refers to a sprain or strain of the muscles in the neck. This occurs when there is a sudden flexion and extension of the neck.
not intended as a substitute for medical advise.  Always consult your physician about your medical condidion.
Last modified: March 7th, 2011