Adjacent Segment Disc Disease

Spinal fusion surgery involves the fusion of two or more vertebral bones, and is a standard of care for spinal deformities and conditions such as radiculopathy, myelopathy and spondylolisthesis. However, in the long-run, the surgery may be associated with adjacent segment disc disease, a complication in which the spinal segments above and below the fused portions develop abnormalities such as disc degeneration, instability, spinal stenosis or disc herniation. This occurs as a result of increased stress on these segments owing to a compromised spinal column. The greater the number of segments involved in the fusion, the greater the stress experienced at the adjacent segments. The complication is more frequently associated with fusions of the lumbar spine (lower back vertebrae) rather than the cervical spine (neck vertebrae).

Adjacent segment disc disease is associated with new degeneration symptoms, but may be asymptomatic and identified only during a follow-up imaging test. Sometimes, clinical evidence of degeneration may not accompany radiographic changes. Surgical intervention is decided only in the presence of clinical as well as imaging findings. Treatment includes fusion as well as decompression of the adjacent segment.

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital


    Ashford and St Peter’s
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 722 730
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital


    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital


    Spire St Anthony’s
    801 London Road,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital


    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital


    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400