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Health in Focus: Adjacent Level Disease

Board-certified neurosurgeon Dr. Jay Jagannathan, with , joined us today to talk about adjacent level disease, also known as adjacent segment disease.

Mobile spinal levels surrounding a spinal fusion can see additional stresses when motion is restricted across the fusion. And while it has not been proven, this additional stress is felt to help degeneration of adjacent segments, which could result in symptoms and the need for additional surgery in the future.

This is known as “adjacent segment disease.”

The stress caused by this and the risk of this disease can be progressively higher with more and more levels stiffened by fusion. Which is why it is thought that multilevel spinal fusions may have a higher risk of adjacent segment disease than single level fusions.

Symptoms of adjacent segment disease include:

  • Leg Pain/Cramping
  • Numbness Tingling
  • Back Pain
  • Weakness (Severe cases)

Treatments for this disease include:

  • Observation
  • Physical Therapy
  • Steroid Injections
  • Surgery

Surgery is only needed with refractory symptoms, weakness and decrease quality of life in spite of non-surgical treatments.

For more health information, contact  for neurosurgery, neurology and interventional pain management.

Northern Michigan: 989-701-2538

Upper Peninsula: 906-253-1341

Southeast Michigan: 248-792-6527