Monday, March 28, 2011

Osteophytes and Difficulty Swallowing

Did you know that bony changes of the spine are a common cause of dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)?  They can occur at one or more levels in the spine, usually above or at the level of the voice box.  Osteophytes occur due to degenerative changes of the spine, and sometimes as part of a disorder called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis.  Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms, and can range from observation (most cases) to surgery to remove the bony growths. 

In this photo, the osteophyte between the vertebrae of C4 and C5 severely narrows the throat just above the voice box, leading to trouble swallowing food and pills.

Osteophytes can be diagnosed with laryngoscopy, an outpatient office-based procedure without sedation, and confirmed using an xray of the spine or a CT scan of the cervical spine.

1 comment:

  1. Spine related problems should not be avoided because avoidance can then turn into worse situation. Now we don't have to be afraid of surgery because nowadays Laser surgery is the most common way of treatment. In this minimally invasive spine surgery is best for those suffering from deformities, tumors, instability & more. A small device called a tubular retractor is inserted down the spinal column creating a tunnel to the affected area requiring surgery. This device holds muscles open and serves as an exit for spinal material being removed, or an entrance for devices that may be implanted. It reduce the risk of complications by shrinking the area affected by surgery and leaving a smaller area to heal. This also means less bleeding and a shorter stay in the hospital. Thanks.