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PARS Defect


Minimally invasive spine stabilization for the treatment of a pars defect

Minimally invasive spine stabilization may be a treatment option for some patients who are experiencing symptoms caused by a pars defect. A pars defect occurs when there is a hairline fracture in the pars interarticularis, or the bony segment of a vertebra that makes up the arch surrounding the spinal cord. This type of fracture is more common in athletes who participate in high-impact sports like football, karate and gymnastics. Initially, the body may try to heal the pars interarticularis by adding new bone cells to the fractured area, but the natural healing process is frequently imperfect, and a lasting pars defect can be the result.

A pars defect can lead to spondylolisthesis, which is the displacement of a vertebra. A pars defect may also cause the compression of the spinal cord or a nerve root, which can lead to pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. While the symptoms of a pars defect can usually be treated non-surgically, some patients may be candidates for spinal fusion if they have been unable to find relief with pain medication, behavior modification and physical therapy.

Benefits of minimally invasive stabilization over open spine fusion

Traditionally, vertebral fusion has been an open spine operation involving a large incision, muscle dissection and a long recovery. Thanks to recent medical advances, however, minimally invasive spine stabilization procedures are now available. A minimally invasive stabilization (MIS) at Laser Spine Institute accomplishes the same results as a traditional open spinal fusion, but offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Surgery does not involve overnight hospitalization
  • Procedure is performed in a relaxing, outpatient setting
  • A small incision
  • There is less risk of scarring, infection, and nerve damage
  • Patients enjoy a quicker recover and less postoperative pain

While this type of procedure is generally a more effective alternative to a highly invasive traditional open spine fusion, not all patients will be candidates for MIS. Candidacy will depend on the severity of the patient’s condition, his or her overall level of health and other factors.

Is MIS right for you?

In the event that you have attempted several months of conservative treatments for symptoms related to a pars defect and are now considering surgery, be sure to research all of your options carefully. Meet with several spine specialists and ask each one which type of surgery he or she is recommending and why, what the risks and benefits of that particular procedure are and if there are any further non-surgical approaches that you might try.

If you would like to learn more about minimally invasive spine stabilization, the orthopedic experts at Laser Spine Institute are here to help. Contact us for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan and we will be happy to determine your candidacy for one of our outpatient procedures.

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