Some patients develop unbalanced degenerative changes in the lumbar spine as they age, and some of those patients develop significant symptoms that lead to a need for assessment and treatment.
Symptoms include back pain due to the deformity itself, or due to the spinal imbalance that develops; leg pain due to nerve root entrapment, or stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal canal or the nerve root canals; restriction of breathing if the deformity comes to limit chest movement; or abdominal discomfort due to restriction of space for abdominal organs.
Potentially complex corrective procedures may be necessary if non-interventional strategies are not helpful.
Depending on the nature of the deformity and the resulting symptoms, intervention may involve surgery to decompress nerves and open the spinal canal, fusion of unstable or painful segments, and realignment and rebalancing of the spine using open or minimally invasive techniques.
Some deformities may require both front and back (anterior and posterior) surgery, either as part of an extensive procedure or as individual stages.
In most cases, surgery will include implantation of spinal instrumentation and the use of devices and biologic agents to facilitate fusion between affected vertebrae.