Overview of the Spine Care Program

The Spine Care Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute offers world class spine care, employing cutting-edge technology to provide a full continuum of care to patients with a range of spine conditions. The program treats patients who are otherwise healthy as well as those with more challenging medical problems. Spine treatment, which includes surgical treatment, is tailored according to individual patient needs and becomes part of a comprehensive care management plan.  

The program incorporates a multidisciplinary collaboration between well-respected neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons, pain management care providers, rehabilitation medicine physicians, physical therapists, and allied health professionals to provide Patients First care. Treatment includes all aspects of spine care, from simple to complex, in a hospital environment. 

What we treat

The Spine Care Program treats patients with a wide range of conditions of the spine, including:

    • Neck pain: Neck pain can cause a range of symptoms, including stiffness, soreness, sharp pain, tingling, weakness, or radiating pain (pain that travels in waves. This pain may also affect the arms. It can be the result of an injury, poor posture, repetitive motions, or whiplash.​​
    • Lumbar disc herniation: A slipped disc in the lower back that presses on the nerve root next to it. This can cause severe pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
    • Cervical disc herniation: A slipped disc in the neck that presses on the nerve root next to it. This results in neck and arm pain that radiates from the affected disc.​
    • Sciatical/low back pain: A symptom of an underlying medical condition, sciatica is pain that originates in the lower back and radiates throughout the buttocks and legs. 
  • Spinal stenosis: A condition in which the spaces between the vertebrae narrow, causing pain and other health problems. It is mostly caused by arthritis, but can also be caused by herniated discs, injuries, or tumors. 
    • Spondylolisthesis: A condition that most commonly occurs in the lower spine, when a vertebra moves forward, squeezing the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. This causes pain or may make the legs to feel numb or weak.  
    • Spinal fracture: Serious orthopedic condition in which fractured or dislocated vertebrae cause damage or pinching of the spinal cord or nerves. Most spinal fractures result from trauma. Spinal fractures can cause pain, trouble walking, or no mobility in the arms or legs.
  • Spinal tumors: Cancer of the spine that can be primary (originating in the spine) or metastatic (a result of cancer that spreads from another part of the body). The spine is one of the most common site for cancer cells to metastasize to. 
    • Spinal infection: Rare infections of the vertebral bones, the intervertebral discs (discs between the vertebrae), the dural sac (spinal cord covering), or spinal canal. An infection can be caused by a bacteria, fungus, or virus, and can sometimes occur as a complication after surgery.  ​
    • Chiari malformation: A structural condition in which a small part of the brain extends into the upper spinal cord.

Diagnosis & treatment with Spine Care​​

Treatment planning is a multidisciplinary process undertaken by a team of expert caregivers. The Spine Care Program offers a variety of treatments, including:

  • Minimally invasive spine surgery: Surgery in which the physician repairs the spine through very small incisions, reducing damage to surrounding tissues.
  • Total disc replacement surgery: A procedure in which a disc that is worn or degenerated and causing pain is completely removed and replaced with a prosthetic implant.
  • Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF): A surgical procedure that involves welding together painful vertebrae to make strong, solid bone and eliminate pain.
  • Minimally invasive fusion surgeries: A procedure that uses very small incisions to join two or more vertebrae together in the cervical (neck), thoracic (middle back), or lumbar (lower back) spine.
  • Revision and reconstructive spine surgery: A type of surgery that is performed to correct problems caused by a previous spinal surgery.

The Spine Care Program makes use of state-of-the-art technology to maximize the safety and success of surgical procedures on the spine. Expert surgeons apply tools and techniques such as:

  • Endoscopic spine surgery: A minimally invasive surgical technique that makes use of an endoscope (a tube with a small camera on the end) to provide visibility during spine surgery that uses only tiny incisions.
  • Intraoperative neuro-monitoring (IOM): A set of technologies used to monitor cranial nerve function during an operation to minimize function loss post-surgery.
  • Intraoperative CT-guided navigation (O-arm): Cross-sectional x-ray imaging that guides surgeons during an operation. The O-arm system allows for the creation of multi-dimensional images that greatly improve visibility during the procedure.

Spine Care Program caregivers 

The Spine Care Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute is a close collaboration of physicians and allied health professionals from a number of subspecialties.

Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are: 

  • Neurosurgical spine surgeons​
  • Orthopedic spine surgeons
  • Neuro-rehabilitation physicians
  • Pain medicine physicians
  • Neurologists who specialize in back pain 
  • Physical therapists 
  • Occupational therapists 
  • Clinical nurses


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