Annulus Fibrosus – The outer protective ring of a spinal disc, which covers the soft center (nucleus pulposus).  The Annulus is made from strong rings of fibers.

ACDF – Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) is a fusion surgery where an unhealthy cervical disc is removed and replaced with an implant or bone. 

Artificial Disc – A medical implant used to replace a worn out disc.

Blood Vessels – Flexible tubes that carry blood throughout the body.

Cervical Spine – Includes the first seven vertebrae of the spinal column (Neck).

CT – Computerized Tomography (CT) is an x-ray procedure that combines many images to create a cross-sectional image sequence (slices) of the body

Degeneration – Deterioration of tissue which may include the loss of function.

Disc – Soft pad of cartilage between each vertebrae of the spine.  The discs each hold the vertebrae apart, and act like cushions or shock absorbers, and allow the vertebrae to move.

Facet Joint – Joint in the back (posterior) of the spine that connects the vertebrae together.

Fluoroscopy – An x-ray procedure used to take moving pictures of a body part.  

FDA – Food and Drug Administration that is part of the US Government.  The FDA makes rules for companies that protect patients who need medicine or medical implants.  The FDA also helps to decide which and how implants can be used.

Fusion – When two bones grow together and stop movement.

Heterotopic Ossification – Unintended bone formation around or across the disc space between the vertebrae.

Implant – A device that is put in the body to fix or take the place of a damaged body part.

Incision – A cut in the skin made during surgery.

Joint – Where two or more bones meet, normally to allow movement.

Ligament – A short strip of strong, flexible soft tissue that connects two bones.

MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a radiographic procedure that uses magnets to create cross-sectional images (like slices) of the body.

Nerves – Fibers that move messages to and from the brain.  Nerves control feeling and movement.  Nerves connect the skin, organs, and muscles through the spinal cord to the brain.

Nucleus Pulposus – The soft center of the spinal disc.

Osteopenia – A condition in which the bones are somewhat weak or thin.  This condition can progress to Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis – A condition in which the bones are thin or weak and become fragile and brittle.

Physical Therapy – (PT) uses exercise and massage to help regain movement.

Skeletal Muscle – A strong tissue that makes movement for the body.

Soft Tissue – Connects, supports, or surrounds the organs and other structures of the body.

Spinal Cord – Bundle of spinal nerves.  The spinal cord starts at the bottom of the brain and runs to the lower back.  The spinal cord moves messages between the brain and the body.

Spine – The are 33 vertebrae that start under the skull and end in the small of the back.  These vertebrae are grouped into three sections – cervical (neck or upper), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower).  The spine protects the spinal cord and provides body support.

Surgery – An operation on the body to fix, remove, or replaced injured or diseased tissue(s).

Vertebrae – The bones that form the spinal column, with a hole for the spinal cord to pass through.

X-Ray – A tool used to take a picture of a patient’s bones.