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What are Osteophytes?


Osteophytes, more commonly known as bone spurs, are small and smooth bony projections that develop on the edges of bones. Spinal bone spurs occur in the joints of the vertebrae. Usually bone spurs don’t cause any symptoms, but when they do occur, they can be quite painful.

What is an Osteophyte Resection?

A minimally invasive osteophyte resection treats the symptoms caused by a bone spur irritating or compressing the spinal cord or nerve.

Chronic back and neck pain can make it hard to go about your daily activities and do the things that you love. Back Pain Centers of America (BPC) offers patients a variety of minimally invasive procedures performed by highly skilled, board-certified surgeons. Call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] to learn about your options today.

Woman does yoga on a pier enjoying life after resection of osteophytes


Minimally invasive osteophyte resection (removal) may expedite relief of your pain. The procedures used for the resection of osteophytes are performed on an outpatient basis and require only a tiny incision that measures approximately 1-inch in diameter. The recovery is much quicker than with traditional open surgery and produces less scarring.

Conditions Treated

There are a few different minimally invasive procedures that can be used for osteophyte treatment depending on their location and any other spinal conditions present. Conditions that may cause bone spurs may include:

Depending on the location of the bone spurs, resection of osteophytes can relieve pinched nerve symptoms such as localized and radiating pain and tingling and weakness that affects the arms and legs.

How to Prepare for a Resection of Osteophytes

Preparation instructions will be given to you to follow before your osteophyte treatment. Your preparation will require you to do the following:

  • Stop smoking for some time before and after the procedure – Tobacco has been linked to various spine conditions and can slow healing.
  • Stop taking certain medications and supplements – Certain medications and supplements increase the risk of bleeding and you will be told which to stop taking and for how long.
  • Fast for 6-12 hours – You will be told exactly when to stop eating and drinking before your procedure.
  • Arrange a ride home – You will not be able to drive after surgery and need to arrange a ride home.

Failure to follow preparation instructions can result in the postponement of your osteophyte treatment.


The procedure used to treat your spinal bone spurs will depend on the location of the bone spurs and what other spinal conditions need to be addressed. The minimally invasive spinal bone spurs treatment options are all performed through a 1-inch incision over the affected vertebrae. Fluoroscopy, which is a type of continuous X-ray imaging, is used so your surgeon can see the spine and locate the affected vertebrae. Thin tubes are passed through the incision and between the muscle and nerves, and the bone spurs are removed using a laser and special instruments. Once the bone spurs have been removed and the space around the nerve has been cleared, you will be sent to the recovery room to be monitored.

Expected Recovery

You can expect some pain at the incision site for the first few days after your osteophyte treatment. Pain medication and applying ice to the area can manage your pain. Physical therapy will be prescribed to help you regain your range of motion and get back to your activities. Your doctor will tell you when you can go back to work and resume other activities. Most patients make a full recovery within 6-8 weeks of minimally invasive bone spurs treatment.

Don’t let chronic back pain interfere with your ability to do the things you enjoy any longer. Call BPC today at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”]. Don’t delay relief. At no cost to you, this call is easy and could be the most important call you ever make.

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