Degenerative Disc Disease

Dr Lee treats all conditions of the lumbar spine.

There are five bones (known as vertebra) in the lumbar spine. Between each lumbar vertebra, lies the intervertebral disc, which acts as a shock absorber during back movement. The intervertebral disc is susceptible to the aging process, and it can lose its elasticity overtime with progressive weakening of the covering (annulus) that contains the gel like properties of the intervertebral disc (nucleus pulposus).

Degenerative disc disease is the progressive wear and tear of a spinal disc due to aging. Pain from degenerative disc disease is due to a combination of factors including internal disc disruption, small tears of the disc causing inflammation of surrounding structures, caused by abnormal motion of the affected spinal segment.

Patients may experience pain in the lower back and pain radiating down both the buttocks and back of thigh. Pain rarely goes beyond the knees unless there is also associated nerve root compression.

Dr Lee focuses on obtaining an accurate diagnosis before implementing a treatment plan.

Many lumbar spinal conditions will not require surgery. Dr Lee may recommend non-operative treatment for the degenerative disc disease. Most patients suffering degenerative disc disease can manage the condition with pain relief, physiotherapy and lifestyle changes. Should non-operative treatment fail, then surgery may be required.

Dr Lee has published a review article discussing Operative Management for Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease. For medical professionals and for those who are interested, you can find the article here:

Operative Management of Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease


Yu Chao Lee, Mario Giuseppe Tedesco Zotti, Orso Lorenzo Osti. Asian Spine Journal. 2016 Aug;10(4):801-19.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Dr Lee commonly performs the following surgeries for degenerative disc disease:

Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion involves the joining of two or more spinal segments to prevent motion.

Multiple techniques exist for spinal fusion surgery, these include:

  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)
  • Oblique Lumbar Interbody Fusion (OLIF)
  • Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion (LLIF/XLIF)
  • Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (PLIF)

Dr Lee will discuss these treatment options with you further should surgery be required.

Dr Lee has extensive experience performing spinal fusion surgery, and experience using the latest minimally invasive spinal surgery techniques. In addition, Dr Lee is also proficient with intraoperative navigation for spinal surgery.

Disclaimer

The medical conditions and treatments outlined on this website are of a general nature. Information given is not intended as specific medical advice pertaining to any given patient and should be seen as a broad guide only. You must not rely on the information provided on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other health care professionals. If you have any specific questions about a medical condition, please consult your health care professional or contact Dr Lee’s rooms for a consultation and advice.