Spine Archive: Ankylosing Spondylitis

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Bone Density in Ankylosing Spondylitis, Buffalo NY

Ankylosing Spondylitis can lead to bone density loss. Consult Dr. Anthony Leone’s team to learn more

A decrease in bone density has been shown to be related to persistent systemic inflammation in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Spinal density measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry increases as ankylosis progresses; therefore, DEXA hip measurements or quantitative CT should be used.¹

¹R. Vaccaro MD, Alexander. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2005.

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Bone Scans and Ankylosing Spondylitis, WNY

Learn more about considering early assessment of spinal trauma. Brought to you by the Knowledge Center of Dr. Leone.

The presence of activity in the sacroiliac joints and in the spinal column on bone scans may help with the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis. Nuclear imaging is an effective screening tool to identify occult fractures in ankylosing spondylitis and should be considered early in the assessment of patients with this disease who sustain even minor trauma.¹

¹R. Vaccaro MD, Alexander. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 2005.

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Seronegative Spondyloarthropathies, WNY

Genetic Testing can help determine if a patient has developed AS. Learn more from Dr. Anthony Leone.

Any of the seronegative spondyloarthropathies, particularly ankylosing spondylitis (AS), can have spinal involvement. A history of inflammatory bowel disease, urethritis, or psoriasis should lead to further investigation of these disorders, which include Reiter’s syndrome, psoriatic arthritis, arthritis of inflammatory bowel disease, and the undifferentiated spondyloarthropathies.¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.

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Spinal Inflammation Treatments

Inflammatory disorder treatment varies depending on the type of inflammation the patient is experiencing. Genetic testing allows physicians to pinpoint specific disorders and therefore plan a proper discourse of treatment for the patient. In patients exhibiting ankylosing spondylitis, anti-inflammatory medications medications and muscle relaxers are prescribed so the patient can move freely without pain. In some extreme situations surgery may be a necessity to remove bony growths and relieve pressure on joints. It’s possible that a small percentage of patients with severe forms of ankylosing spondylitis will need hip joint replacement surgery. In patients with an infection, plenty of rest, prescriptions of antibiotics, and joint braces may be employed.

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Diagnosis of Spinal Inflammation

Ankylosing spondylitis is one of the most common inflammatory disorders. Through genetic testing, a physician can diagnose a patient for the disorder. Ninety percent of patients with ankylosing spondylitis have exhibited a specific gene (HLA-B27). The appearance of this gene can help physicians determine a proper course of treatment for ankylosing spondylitis.

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Symptoms of Spinal Inflammation

Back pain is often a patient’s main concern with spinal inflammation. For patients with infections, the slow presence of back pain along with fatigue, chills, and a fever may occur. In akylosing spondylitis, this slow presence of pain can come and go. Patients will generally find increased pain at night and stiffness in the morning. In addition, ankylosing spondylitis disrupts posture which can lead to pain and swelling in other body parts like the heart, lungs, and eyes.

Because ankylosing spondylitis has been linked genetically, genetic testing can help diagnose and in turn aid a physician in determining treatments.

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Spinal Inflammation

Osteoporosis, arthritis, and infection are just a few of a wide range of conditions that can lead to spinal inflammation. While this is rare, inflammation of the spine can be very painful and can cause disability if left untreated. The following are inflammatory disorders along with explanations.

  • Ankylosing spondylitis – one of the most common spinal inflammatory disorders, ankylosing spondylitis is a form of spinal arthritis. Most often, soft tissue in the tendons and ligaments are inflamed. This inflammation can cause the soft tissue to degrade. Once inflammation is relieved, new bone can grow to take its place. If this growth of bone becomes reoccurring, two bones may completely fuse together. Genetics influence akylosing spondylitis and therefore genetic testing has played an important role in diagnosis.
  • Arachnoiditis – the spinal cord membrane (which surrounds the spine) is infected
  • Discitis – the space(s) between the vertebrae is infected
  • Sacrolilitis – the joint between the pelvis and lower back is inflamed
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Genetic Testing and its Role in Detecting Akylosing Spondylitis

Ongoing joint pain or chronic arthritis within the spine is referred to as Ankylosing spondylitis. Symptoms that are often present in youths and early adults include stiffness and back pain. As time goes on the bones of the vertebrae will slowly fuse together and back movement will be hindered. This fusion of the bone is referred to as ankylosis.

Akylosing spondylitis can be prevalent in multiple family members but is not exclusively a genetics issue. Factors in the environment can also play key roles in the development of the disease. These environmental factors have not yet been fully discovered. Not to worry, inheriting a variation of ankylosing spondylitis doesn’t necessarily mean a patient will become a victim of the disease.

Because there are different variations of genes related to ankylosing spondylitis, genetic testing can be implemented. This allows the physician to pinpoint specific gene variations responsible for the patient’s condition and address the disease with an exclusive treatment plan.