Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the jelly-like substance that makes up the cushioned discs between the vertebrae dries out and breaks down. This makes the discs less capable of bearing weight or providing a cushion between the bones of the spine.

The expert team of doctors at UT Southwestern’s Spine Center specializes in all available evidence-based treatments for degenerative disc disease – both medical and surgical. We offer our patients the most advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies and techniques, including specialized spine imaging.

When surgery is required, our skilled team of surgeons can often perform minimally invasive procedures, which reduce recovery time.

Our multidisciplinary approach allows you access to neurosurgeons, orthopaedists, and other specialists with one call. We strive to coordinate, facilitate, and expedite patient care, saving our patients time.

Our goal is to partner with our patients in their care, get them back to health as soon as possible, and help them achieve the best outcomes.


If we suspect that you have degenerative disc disease, we’ll conduct a physical examination and order spine imaging studies. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) often is used to diagnose degenerative disc disease.


After diagnosis, we’ll make sure you see the right experts to treat your specific problem. Our experienced spine specialists treat degenerative disc disease with therapies that include:

  • Spine rehabilitation
  • Anti-inflammation drugs
  • Acupuncture
  • Biofeedback
  • Discectomy, the surgical removal of all or part of a disc, often performed in conjunction with surgery to fuse the affected vertebrae (spinal fusion)
  • Decompression surgery, a procedure in which tiny pieces of disc material and/or vertebrae are removed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves
  • Disc replacement, the surgical replacement of a native disc with an artificial disc

We’ll create a care plan that minimizes the number of visits you need to make, while also providing you with the support you need.

Clinical Trials

UT Southwestern conducts clinical trials aimed at improving the diagnosis and treatment of degenerative disc disease. Talk with your doctor to see if a clinical trial is right for you.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a degenerative disc disease specialist at UT Southwestern’s facilities in Dallas or to learn more about our services, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.

Meet Our Experts

UT Southwestern Spine Center specialists who treat degenerative disc disease include:

Learn more about the Spine Center team.