Primary Outcome Measures:
- Inflammatory profile [ Time Frame: At surgery ]
Intervertebral disc tissue Spinal Ligament Tissue Blood serum
Degenerative disc disease is the most prevalent indication for spine surgery and the major source of back pain in afflicted patients. Age related degeneration of the intervertebral discs is not the exception, but the rule. Degenerative changes are associated with weakening of the disc and hypertrophy of the ligamentum flavum in the spine. The aim of this study is to determine if there are any local or systemic biomarkers that correlate with the severity of degeneration as indicated by radiological examination. To date, Imaging (XRay, MRI, CT scans) are the most widely used diagnostic tools for identifying degenerated discs. Physical changes in the disc are also associated with increased secretion and expression of inflammatory mediators in the tissue. The investigators are interested in measuring both gene and protein level changes of inflammatory mediators in degenerated discs in order to correlate these levels with imaging based indicators of degeneration. Protein level changes in the disc and ligamentum flavum have yet to be correlated with MRI-derived disc modic changes classification system. The investigators hypothesize that as the image characteristics of advancing degenerative disease increase, a corresponding change will be present in the secretion (or expression) of specific markers related to inflammatory processes in the disc. Cytokines found to be upregulated in disc tissue or ligamentum flavum will also be measured in patient's serum levels to begin developing a systemic diagnostic method for detecting disc degeneration.