The spine is a complex structure which helps in posture, locomotion and protection of nerves. We all know that the spine has discs and we are all familiar with the problems of slip disc. But very few know that the spinal column also has real joints, just like the knee or elbow, called facet joints. Like knees and elbows, these joints also develop cysts; which is a very rare condition – to detect as well as to treat.
Recently, a case of facet cysts was detected and surgically treated at Wockhardt Hospital.
Spine surgeon Dr Priyesh Dhoke, who performed this process, said the patient, who is is 72 years old, had developed acute symptoms like severe pain while walking and standing. “People around him suggested that it could be due to advanced age. A retired professor with an active lifestyle, it was a shock for this gentleman to stop his daily activities,” said Dr Dhoke.
Interestingly, the cyst was not detected by doctors even after the MRI. “In this case, MRI reports had no mention of the facet joint cyst. The radiologist had reported degenerative condition of the spine. As a treating doctor, I examined the MRI films in great detail and detected that it was a facet cyst,” said Dr Dhoke.
After a successful surgery, a huge cyst was removed and sent for histopathology biopsy for confirmation. After this, all the pressure on the spinal nerves was removed. The patient informed TOI that he started walking the very next day. “I was able to walk without pain confidently for a long distance in the next two weeks. It’s like a new life for me. I was bound to the bed a few days back and was feeling helpless. My life has changed,” he said.
After multiple consultations, his symptoms were attributed to his age. A senior surgeon from government medical college and hospital confirmed that facet cyst is a rare condition where the synovial swelling arises in the facet joint and compresses the spinal nerves to cause pain, numbness or weakness in the legs. “Sometimes, it is also associated with paralysis in the legs and difficulty with urine and passing stools. Surgery is the effective solution for this condition,” he said.
THE RARE CYST: SYMPTOMS
- Pain and cramping in lower back and legs
- Pain radiates from back of leg to foot
- Numbness or tingling in legs
- Increased pain while standing or walking
- Diagnosis of cyst most important step towards treatment
- Surgery can be a solution for which pre-operative planning & advance infra needed
- Advance anesthesia care, high-end operation microscope, special drilling instruments and good post operative care too must for successful surgery