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Degenerative Disc Disease

Appointments

Request an appointment online or
call us. 305-243-6946

The University of Miami Health System’s Spine Program delivers the latest in degenerative disc disease care, including minimally invasive spine surgery, led by a team of the region’s best neurosurgeons.

The discs in your spine are soft, rubbery tissue that lie between the bones. As you age, these discs start to dry out, shrink and degrade, leading to conditions like herniated discs  or spinal stenosis.

Most people will experience some degeneration in their lifetime and many do without feeling any significant discomfort. However, there are some who feel extreme pain, numbness or weakness. When this occurs, it is commonly referred to as degenerative disc disease, although it is really more of condition.

Our program is powered by the most advanced technology, groundbreaking research and medical education. That is why we are the best-in-class and why you should choose us to help alleviate your back and neck pain.

Why Choose UHealth?

Team-based approach. Our program consists of a team of highly specialized and caring professionals, including neurosurgeons, pain rehabilitation specialists and physical therapists, who will be there for you before, during, and after your surgery.

Precision medicine. At UHealth, minimally invasive spine surgery for degenerative disc disease is precision medicine at its finest. Everyone experiences back pain and nerve dysfunction differently. Our spine surgeons focus on the specific cause and location of your back condition. We are here to relieve your symptoms with as little impact to your body as possible.

Access to the largest variety of procedures.  We offer more than 30 unique minimally invasive spine procedures and treat both adult and pediatric patients. We also perform spinal fusions, decompressions, artificial disc replacement and other back surgeries. Our board-certified minimally invasive spine neurosurgeons perform more than 1,000 surgeries a year.

The latest technology. We use the latest technological advancements to achieve the best results. Our comprehensive array of highly-specialized, innovative technology and leading-edge instruments for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) procedures include:

  • O-arm®
  • Mazor Renaissance™ Spine Robot
  • Spinal endoscopy 
  • Tubular dilator retractor systems
  • High resolution microscopes
  • Neuro-navigation

Minimally invasive spine surgery (MIS). MIS is less painful and offers you a quicker healing time because it causes less damage to surrounding tissues. It also means you have a less noticeable scar than you would get from a traditional surgery. In fact, it is sometimes as small as two centimeters.

If you want to know the cause of your back pain and how to treat it, our expert team at the UHealth Spine Program can help. Request an appointment online or call 305-243-BACK (2225) today.

Questions? We're here to help.

Our appointment specialists are ready to help you find what you need. Contact us today.

Treatments

  • Physical Therapy

    Back rehabilitation focuses on relieving pain and improving mobility. Treatment plans include exercise programs to improve range of motion, improve flexibility and mobility, increase muscle strength, and increase endurance.

  • Medication

    For less severe conditions, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen sodium) can help relieve pain and decrease inflammation.

  • Heat and Cold Therapy 

    Alternating a heating pad and cold packs on the injured area can help decrease inflammation and loosen muscles.

  • Surgery

    Our expert team of spine surgeons is specialized in managing these problems with the full array of surgical techniques, including minimally invasive approaches when applicable.

    • Extreme Lateral Interbody Fusion (XLIF): The XLIF is the process of accessing the intervertebral disc space and fusing the lumbar spine by approaching the spine through the side (lateral) instead of through the front (anterior) or back (posterior).
    • Laminectomy: A laminectomy is a surgery performed to relieve pressure or compression on a patient’s spinal cord or nerves. Experts at UHealth’s Spine Program remove the lamina, which is the bone on the back of your spine, in order to decompress your spine. This creates more space for your spinal cord and nerves. It is most commonly performed in the neck or lower back.  
    • Cervical Disc Replacement: Cervical disc replacement surgery is an option for patients with cervical disc herniations who have not responded to non-surgical treatment. In this minimally invasive procedure, an intervertebral disc is removed and an artificial disc is inserted between the two cervical vertebrae. The artificial device is used to preserve motion at the disc space.

Tests


The experienced physicians at UHealth’s Spine Program determine if your back pain is caused by degenerative disc disease by reviewing your medical history, a thorough physical examination, and diagnostic tests.

  • Discography

    During this test, you will receive an injection of saline into your disc(s) under CT guidance. This is done to provoke any pain and/or abnormal response. This can show abnormal nerve pathways generating pain inside the injured/degenerated disc.  

  • Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Velocity

    Electroneurophysiological testing is done with current and electrodes to determine nerve function/dysfunction. This can demonstrate nerve damage.

  • X-Ray 

    This diagnostic test uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce film images of internal tissues, bones and organs. 

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

    This diagnostic procedure uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

  • Myelogram

    This procedure uses dye injected into the spinal canal to make the structure clearly visible on x-rays.

Accepted Insurances

Note: Health plans that are currently contracted with UHealth are listed below. However, please check with your insurance provider to verify that UHealth is part of your provider network.

  • Aetna WC
  • Aetna Affiliates/Signature Adm (ASA)
  • Aetna Behavioral Health
  • Aetna Elect Choice (EPO)
  • Aetna Florida Healthy Kids
  • Aetna HMO
  • Aetna Medicaid HMO
  • Aetna Medicare HMO
  • Aetna Medicare PPO
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 1
  • Aetna UM Employee HMO 2
  • Aetna UM Employee POS HRA
  • Aetna/Coventry Institutes of Excellence (IOE)
  • Amerigroup Florida Healthy Kids
  • Amerigroup Medicaid HMO
  • Argus Vision
  • AvMed Choice
  • AvMed HMO/POS
  • AvMed MDC and JHS Groups
  • AvMed Medicare HMO
  • AXIS
  • BCBS Blue Options Network Blue PPO
  • BCBS BlueCare HealthOptions HMO
  • BCBS BlueChoice PPC/PPO
  • BCBS Miami Dade Blue PPO Limited Benefits Plan
  • BCBS of Florida (All products except "SELECT" Plans)
  • BCBS of Florida (Commercial plans exclude HIX Select)
  • BCBS Traditional PHS/PPO
  • Beacon Health (ValueOption)
  • Beech Street PPO
  • Broward Health Medical Center
  • CarePlus Medicare HMO
  • Catholic Hospice
  • CCP/CMS Title XIX (Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/CMS Title XXI (Non Medicaid Enrolled in South Florida)
  • CCP/MMA (Broward County residents)
  • Charlotte County Sheriffs Office PPO
  • Cigna Affiliates
  • Cigna Behavioral Health
  • Cigna Dental HMO/PPO
  • Cigna EPO
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna Life Source (Intracorp is part of Cigna Lifesource)
  • Cigna MDCPS Jackson Sr. High
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • Cigna Shared Administration
  • Clear Health Alliance SNP Medicaid HMO
  • CompCare (Comprehensive Behavioral Care)
  • Concordia Behavioral Health
  • CorVel WC
  • Coventry First Health WC
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) HMO/POS
  • Coventry Health Care of Florida (HIP) PPO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) HMO
  • Coventry Health Plan of Florida (Foundation) POS
  • Coventry National PPO
  • Coventry Summit Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Coventry Vista Medicare HMO
  • Delta Dental PPO
  • DentaQuest (ADI)
  • DIKLA
  • Dimension WC
  • Dimension Plus PPO
  • EHN PPO
  • EQUIAN (Health Systems International)
  • Europe Assistance/Global Corporate Solutions (Care Management Network)
  • eyeQuest
  • FCCI WC
  • Florida Healthcare Plan (Affiliate of BCBSFL)
  • Florida PACE (FPC)
  • Freedom Health Medicaid HMO
  • Freedom Health Medicare HMO
  • Gallagher Bassett WC (MDCPS & FCSRMC)
  • Global Excel Mgt PPO
  • Global Health Claims Services
  • Great West (Cigna) HMO/POS
  • Guardian Life PPO
  • HAA Preferred Partners
  • Health First Health HMO/POS
  • Health First Health Medicare HMO
  • Health First Health PPO
  • Health Net Veterans Choice HMO
  • Heritage Summit Healthcare WC
  • Humana Behavioral Health (LifeSynch)
  • Humana Dental/CompBenefits/OHS
  • Humana EPO
  • Humana HMO
  • Humana HUMx
  • Humana Medicaid HMO
  • Humana Medicare HMO
  • Humana National Transplant
  • Humana PPO
  • Humana Premier
  • iCare Health Solutions
  • Interlink Health Services
  • International Kids Fund (IKF)
  • League Medical Concepts Federal Inmates
  • Life Trac
  • Magellan Behavioral Health
  • Magellan Complete Care SNP Medicaid HMO
  • MDAbroad
  • Medica Medicare HMO
  • Medical Development In't (MDI)-Federal Inmates
  • Medicus
  • Metlife Dental PPO
  • MHNet Behavioral Network (MHNet)
  • Molina
  • Molina Market Place
  • Molina Medicaid HMO
  • Molina Medicare HMO
  • Morgan White International
  • MultiPlan PPO
  • Naphcare (Federal Prisoners)
  • National Healthcare Solutions Inc.
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan HMO/POS
  • Neighborhood HealthPlan PPO
  • North Broward Hospital District PPO
  • Olympus Managed Healthcare
  • Optum
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicaid HMO
  • Positive Healthcare SNP Medicare HMO
  • Prestige Health Choice Medicaid HMO
  • Prime Health Services WC
  • Quality Health Management
  • Religious Order of Jehovah's Witnesses PPO
  • Rockport Healthcare Group WC
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises PPO
  • Sanus Health Corporation
  • Simply Healthcare Medicaid HMO
  • Solstice Dental HMO/PPO
  • Start Healthcare Network
  • Sunshine
  • Sunshine AMBETTER
  • Sunshine Healthy Kids HMO
  • Sunshine Medicaid HMO
  • Sunshine Medicare HMO
  • Tricare South Prime HMO
  • Tricare South Standard PPO
  • United Behavioral Health (UBH)
  • UnitedHealthcare Affiliates
  • UnitedHealthcare Healthy Kids HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare HMO/POS
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicaid HMO
  • UnitedHealthcare Medicare Nursing Home Plan
  • UnitedHealthcare PPO
  • University of Miami Athletic Dept PPO
  • VUMI
  • Wellcare/Staywell Healthy Kids HMO
  • Wellcare/Staywell Medicaid HMO
  • Wexford Health State Inmates
  • Worldwide Managed Care