Patient Education

Federico P. Girardi, M.D. would like to be your partner in health care. Feel free to ask your questions and share your concerns with us. We will work with you to develop a wellness program for the care and treatment you need.

We welcome you to our practice and look forward to caring for you.

Federico P. Girardi, M.D. provides a full range of medical services including the following:


Ankylosing Spondylitis

What is Ankylosing Spondylitis?

Ankylosing spondylitis is a form of chronic inflammatory arthritis that significantly affects the joints of the spine. This autoimmune condition causes swelling between the vertebrae, and often affects one or both sacroiliac joints, the joints that attach the spine to the pelvis. In severe cases, the extreme swelling may cause the bones of the spine to fuse. Pain, swelling, and stiffness in the lower back are the typical symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, but inflammation may occur in other parts of the body, including the eyes. Men are more likely than women to develop ankylosing spondylitis and it most commonly occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood. ...


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Anterior Cervical Corpectomy

What is an Anterior Corpectomy?

An anterior cervical corpectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove one or more vertebral bodies and disc spaces in the neck in order to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves caused by stenosis or bone spurs. Patients with these conditions often experience pain in the affected area, as well as numbness, tingling or weakness in the extremities. As its name suggests, an anterior cervical corpectomy involves approaching the problem area from the front of the cervical spine. ...


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Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

What is an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion?

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a combined surgical procedure to decompress spinal nerves and stabilize the cervical spine. As the name indicates, this procedure is performed through an incision at the front, or anterior, of one side of the neck. With this surgical approach, the disc can be accessed without disturbing the spinal cord, the neck muscles and uninvolved spinal nerves. The operation is performed under general anesthesia. ...


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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

What is Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion?

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) is a surgical procedure performed to alleviate persistent lumbar pain, or pain in the lower region of the back. Currently one of the most frequently used spinal fusion techniques, ALIF is performed from the anterior of the spine through the abdomen. Interbody fusion refers to the removal of an intervertebral disc, which is replaced with a bone spacer during the fusion process. This method of anterior incision is chosen when the targeted area of the spine is closer to the front of the body or when the level of instability present is not too great. A major advantage of anterior entry is that a larger implant can be incorporated into the procedure. ...


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Bone Morphogenetic Proteins

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are substances that are used in place of bone grafts for spinal fusions to stimulate bone growth. While BMPs are found naturally in the body, they can also be created in the lab. Eventhough BMPs are approved for use in spinal fusion surgeries, they cannot be used for cervical spinal procedures due to the possibility of adverse reactions that may interfere with swallowing or breathing. ...


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Cauda Equina Syndrome

Cauda equina ("horse's tail") syndrome, also known as CES, is a rare neurological disorder affecting the group of nerve roots at the bottom of the spinal cord. These nerve roots are responsible for the neurological functioning of the legs, feet, bladder, bowels and pelvic organs. Left untreated, cauda equina syndrome can result in permanent urinary or fecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction or paralysis. ...


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Cervical Fracture

What is a Cervical Fracture?

A cervical fracture is a break of one of the seven bones in the cervical spine (neck), that help support the head and connect it to the rest of the body. Most often, a cervical fracture occurs as a result of a severe trauma caused by a sports injury, fall, or vehicular accident. Cervical fractures not only happen during contact sports like football or wrestling, but may occur from a horseback riding fall, a skiing, surfing, or weight-lifting accident, or during diving. Cervical fractures are serious injuries because they may involve the spinal cord and can lead to loss of sensation, paralysis or even death. ...


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Cervical Fusion

Cervical fusion is a surgical procedure performed to join at least two of the vertebrae of the neck. This surgery is performed to alleviate pain in patients with disorders of the cervical spine, such as stenosis and degenerative disc disease. The cervical spine is made up of seven vertebrae stacked on top of one other, each two separated by a cushion known as an intervertebral disc. In patients with certain spine conditions, some bones of the cervical spine may rub against one other, causing pain, numbness and other troubling symptoms. While there are several nonsurgical methods available to treat these conditions, some patients may benefit from cervical fusion to avoid future complications and achieve long-term relief. ...


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Cervical Laminectomy

What is a cervical laminectomy?

A cervical laminectomy is a surgical procedure that can effectively relieve compression of the spinal nerves and so reduce the pain of spinal stenosis. Cervical spinal stenosis is a condition that involves a narrowing of the spinal column in the neck area. It often produces pain, cramping, weakness or numbness in the neck, shoulders or arms. This condition can develop as a result of injury to, or deterioration of, the discs, joints or bones within the spinal canal. Because the vertebrae of the neck are more capable of movement than any other area of the spine and because they are not only responsible for protecting the spinal cord, but for supporting the skull, surgical repairs in this area are a delicate matter. ...


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Cervical Posterior Foraminotomy

What is Cervical Posterior Foraminotomy?

Cervical posterior foraminotomy is a surgical procedure performed to treat foraminal stenosis, a condition in which the openings for nerve roots to exit the spinal canal have become too small, resulting in painful nerve compression. These openings, called foramen, may have gradually become clogged by herniated discs, calcified ligaments or joints, or bone spurs. Whatever the cause, once the foramen are narrowed, the pressure of bone against the cervical nerves may cause pain, numbness, weakness or tingling sensations. ...


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Decompression Discectomy

What is Decompression Discectomy?

A discectomy is a surgery performed to relieve the compression of a nerve root by a herniated disc. This procedure can be performed as an open surgery or as a minimally invasive procedure. A new type of minimally invasive procedure, known as a decompression discectomy, has proven highly successful. This procedure, also known as a percutaneous discectomy, is performed using a device known as the Stryker Dekompressor . The Stryker Dekompressor is a probe intended for single use. It can be used effectively in discectomies performed on any region of the spine: cervical, thoracic or lumbar. ...


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Foraminal Stenosis

What is Foraminal Stenosis?

Foraminal stenosis is a painful condition caused by a narrowing of a foraminal canal, one of the passages through which nerves branch off the spinal cord.

What causes Foraminal Stenosis?

This condition may be the result of a congenital defect, aging, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, a thickened ligament, a herniated disc, a bone spur, or the enlargement of a vertebral joint. Most frequently, it is caused by disc degeneration. ...


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Foraminotomy

What is Foraminotomy surgery?

In addition to vertebrae and discs, the spinal column contains many foramina, holes through which the nerves pass from the spinal canal to the rest of the body. When a foramen narrows, a condition known as foraminal stenosis, the adjacent nerve may be impinged upon, causing irritation and dysfunction. In order to alleviate this condition, a foraminotomy, a surgical procedure to clean out the foraminal passage, may be performed. During a foraminotomy, bone and soft tissues is removed to widen the foramen and decompress the affected nerve. A foraminotomy can be performed at any level of the spine, but is most commonly performed in the cervical or lumbar region. ...


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Herniated Disc

What is a Herniated Disc?

A herniated disc, also known are a ruptured or slipped disc, is a damaged spinal cushion between two bones in the spine (vertebrae). Normally, the gelatinous discs between the vertebrae hold the bones in place and act as shock absorbers, permitting the spine to bend smoothly. When a disc protrudes beyond its normal parameters and its tough outer layer of cartilage cracks, the disc is considered to be herniated. ...


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Kyphosis

Kyphosis is an exaggerated rounding of the upper back, sometimes called a hunchback. Most often found in postmenopausal women, when it is referred to as a "dowager's hump," it is also fairly common in adolescent girls. At times, kyphosis is a congenital condition and it may also show up in boys between the ages of 10 and 15 as a manifestation of the hereditary disorder known as Scheuermann's kyphosis. Individuals with osteoporosis or who have connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome, are also at greater risk of developing kyphosis. Although patients with kyphosis may suffer back pain, stiffness or fatigue, most people with mild cases have no discernible symptoms. ...


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Laminectomy

What is a Laminectomy?

A laminectomy is a surgical procedure that relieves spinal nerve compression caused by spinal stenosis or a herniated disc. Spinal stenosis occurs whe one or more areas of the spinal canal narrow. A herniated disc occurs when a disc, the gelatinous tissue between two vertebrae, protrudes outside of the spine. ...


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Lateral Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF) is a spinal fusion technique performed from the side of the body rather than from the back or through the abdomen. Spinal fusion procedures are performed for the relief of persistent pain in the lower back, the lumbar region of the spine. Interbody fusion refers to surgery in which an interverterbal disc is removed and the adjacent vertebrae are joined. The connection between the two vertebrae is accomplished through the use of a bone graft or through the insertion of bone morphogenetic protein, a manufactured substance also naturally found in the body. LLIF can be used to treat nerve compression, disc degeneration, spondylothesis and other painful lower back conditions. ...


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Laminoplasty

What is a Laminoplasty?

A laminoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to relieve the nerve pressure and pain caused by spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the spinal nerves and causes pain throughout the spine and extremities. It can develop as a result of certain genetic abnormalities, disease processes or simply due to natural aging. ...


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Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is the most common cause for a work-related disability and one of the main reasons for people staying home from work. The lower back is one of the most important parts of the body as it holds most of our body weight when we stand and is involved in movement when we bend or twist at the waist. Because of its pivotal role and frequent use, the lower back is susceptible to injury and chronic pain. Lower back pain is especially common in older adults who may have decreased bone strength and muscle elasticity. The spongy cartilage pads, called intervertebral discs, that allow for flexibility may wear away and weaken in an elderly person. ...


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Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Lumbar microdiscectomy, also known lumbar disc microsurgery, is performed to remove a piece of intervertebral disc that is pressing on a spinal nerve and causing severe pain, weakness or numbness in the lumbar, or lower, back. This pain may extend down the length of the leg, and is then referred to as radicular pain. The lumbar back is the largest moveable segment of the vertebral column and is especially vulnerable to painful disorders, both because it is the part of the spine most affected most by twisting and bending, and because it bears the most body weight. ...


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Microdiscectomy

What is a Microdiscectomy?

A microdiscectomy, also known as microdecompression spine surgery, is a surgical procedure that removes part of an impinged intervertebral disc in order to relieve pain, weakness and numbness throughout the body. It is usually reserved for patients with severe symptoms that do not respond to more conservative treatments, and significantly affect the patient's quality of life. ...


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Posterior Cervical Fusion

What is a Posterior Cervical Fusion?

Posterior cervical fusion is a surgical procedure performed to stabilize the cervical spine and to relieve pain in the uppermost region of the back. The cervical spine begins at the base of the skull and consists of seven vertebrae with discs between them. One of the most important parts of the body, the neck is also the most articulate portion of the spine, moving more freely and in more directions than the other sections. ...


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Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF) is a spinal surgical procedure performed to provide relief from debilitating pain in the lumbar (lower) region of the spine. PLIF is performed by through the patient's back. A posterior approach can be advantageous since it avoids interfering with the many organs and major blood vessels present in the abdominal region. Also, a posterior approach brings the surgeon to the affected site more quickly. Interbody fusion involves removing an interverterbal disc, replacing it with a bone spacer and fusing the two vertebrae on either side. ...


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Post-Laminectomy Syndrome

Post-laminectomy syndrome is a condition in which a patient continues to experience pain and disability after a laminectomy, a type of spinal surgery. During a laminectomy, a piece of the layer of bone covering the back of the spinal cord (the lamina) is removed to eliminate compression on the spinal nerves. This surgery may be performed in conjunction with other back surgery, such as a discectomy, and is most often performed to relieve stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. The development of post-laminectomy syndrome is a complication of the procedure. Post-laminectomy syndrome is a type of failed back surgery, a broader category which includes chronic pain following any spinal surgery, including spinal fusion. ...


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Revision Spinal Surgery

Revision spinal surgery is a reparative procedure performed on a patient who has already undergone previous spine surgery. The most common reason for revision spinal surgery is continuing pain. Typically, by 3 months after a surgery has been completed, any lingering pain is gone. When a patient is still reporting chronic pain after this time, revision spinal surgery may be considered. The goal of the second surgery is the same as the goal of the first procedure: to reduce or eliminate pain and allow the patient to resume work and other normal activities. Besides chronic pain, revision spinal surgery may be necessary to repair a surgery that was performed incorrectly or at an incorrect site or to correct postsurgical complications. ...


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Sciatica

Sciatica is an inflammation of the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve stretches from the spinal cord to the end of each leg and may become inflamed for a number of reasons, including age-related changes in the spine, obesity, or a sedentary lifestyle. Sciatica usually develops gradually as the nerve is compressed over time. This results in pain along the nerve pathway, as well as numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the affected area. ...


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Scoliosis

Scoliosis is an abnormal curving of the spine. While all spines have a natural curve, patients with scoliosis have excessive spinal curving. Usually scoliosis develops during the growth spurt before puberty, between the ages of 9 and 15. Although some cases of scoliosis are congenital, and some are the result of underlying neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, most cases of scoliosis are idiopathic, meaning their cause is unknown. Both girls and boys can develop scoliosis, but cases in females are more likely to require treatment. In some cases, scoliosis appears to be hereditary. ...


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Spinal Cysts

Cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs, can develop near the spine, leading to various painful and potentially serious conditions. There are several different types of cysts that can form within the spinal cord; they include synovial, arachnoid, Tarlov, ganglion and intradiscal. The majority of spinal cysts are found in the sacral (tailbone) area. Some types of cysts are present at birth; others are caused by the spinal degeneration that accompanies aging. ...


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Spinal Instability

Spinal instability, or disc disruption, is a disorder in which there is abnormal motion between the vertebrae. This can be caused by a congenital condition or may be the result of a traumatic injury. It can also be caused by spinal degeneration due to arthritis or osteoporosis, previous surgery, or the presence of a tumor. When a disc degenerates and possibly extends beyond the parameters of the spinal column, vertebrae move in an abnormal way, shifting the vertebral (facet) joints out of proper alignment. Too much irregular movement of the facet joints encourages the growth of bone spurs in the joints as well as arthritis which may further exacerbate the problem. ...


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Spinal Stenosis

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing in one or more areas of the spinal canal as a result of injury or deterioration of the discs, joints or bones of the spine. Most cases of spinal stenosis develop as a result of the degenerative changes that occur during aging. ...


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Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a displacement of one of the bones of the spine. When the displaced vertebra slips out of its normal location onto the bone beneath it, it may compress a spinal nerve, causing pain. This condition most commonly occurs in the lumbar (lower) region of the back and may occur for a variety of reasons. Spondylolisthesis is graded by radiologists according to the amount of slippage that has occurred, Grade I being the mildest displacement and Grade IV the most serious. ...


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Vertebral Corpectomy

What is a Vertebral Corpectomy?

A vertebral corpectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove a vertebral body (vertebra) and the discs surrounding it in order to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and adjacent spinal nerves. Such pressure is most frequently the result of spinal stenosis or bone spurs. Patients with spinal compression experience pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the affected portion of the back. These symptoms may also be radicular, extending down into the extremities. Depending on the location and severity of the condition, symptoms may also include loss of balance or a loss of bowel or bladder control. ...


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Vertebral Subluxation

Vertebral subluxation is a chiropractic term referring to a misalignment, or minimal dislocation, of the bones of the spinal column (vertebrae). When a vertebra moves out of position, it can create pressure on a spinal nerve. This interferes with communication among the nerves, possibly setting the stage for an injury or the beginning of a disease process. Chiropractors are professionals who have gone through extensive training in order to be able to detect vertebral subluxations and correct them through manual manipulations called "adjustments." ...


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Vertebral Tumors

Vertebral tumors, also called extradural tumors, form between the vertebrae of the spine, and can be malignant or benign. Although a vertebral tumor can cause back pain, most back pain is caused by something other than a tumor. In general, a physician should be consulted when back pain persists and increases in intensity; cannot be linked to a particular activity; or gets worse at night. Anyone with a prior history of cancer who has sudden back pain should also be examined by a physician. ...


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