Archive | Spine

Effect of Smoking on the Spine

Dr Frank Snyckers I vividly remember being struck by the irony of it when I recently saw a full page advertisement in a pre-World War II SA Medical Journal that proclaimed that ‘Smoking is good for you’. Times have certainly changed since then and it has become abundantly clear that this is not the case at […]

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Diagnosis and Early Treatment of Cervical Spine Whiplash Injuries

Dr Jacques du Plessis, Neurosurgeon, Life Eugene Marais Hospital, Pretoria The vague definition of the term whiplash has led to a wide range of interpretations, which has probably caused considerable misunderstanding with consequent negative effect for patients. Whiplash trauma is mechanical insult to structures of the cervical spine and head that occur when an acceleration-deceleration movement […]

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Disc Degeneration – Disease or Simply Ageing?

Dr Pradeep Makan, orthopaedic surgeon The advent of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has enabled us to detect disc degeneration at a young age in individuals who complain of back pain. Prior to this imaging modality, evidence of disc degeneration was identified on standard radiographs that demonstrate disc space narrowing and facet joint arthritis. We know […]

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Lumbar Disc Arthroplasty for Chronic Lumbar Backache

Dr JJ du Plessis Spinal fusion for the treatment of chronic low back pain due to degenerative disease at one or two levels has been shown to improve outcomes compared with the natural history of patients with lumbar back pain. Although the general results of fusion are good, not all patients achieve significant pain relief, […]

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Tailored Treatment for Spinal Stenosis

Prof Mkhululi Lukhele Spinal stenosis relates to the anatomical structural narrowing of the neural elements of the lumbar spinal canal. The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is degenerative changes which occur with ageing in the presence or absence of a congenitally small canal. It may be associated with degenerative spondylolisthesis, which is the […]

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Applying Treatments for Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fractures

Dr JJ du Plessis Back pain is the principal manifestation of most osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures and may be either acute and excruciating, or chronic and persistent. The 700 000 osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures per year in the US easily outnumber fractures of the hip and ankle combined. Acute back pain caused by a recent […]

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