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Ankylosing Spondylitis: What is the big deal?

How does the disease progress to fusion?

The long standing inflammation characteristic of Ankylosing Spondylitis may lead to increasing damage to the spinal bones over time and could ultimately result in fusion of the spinal bones or ‘ankylosis’.[1]

Increasing pain, stiffness and immobility are usually the signs of progressing disease.[2][3][4]

The process of ankylosis: Recent research has revealed that fusion or ankylosis occurs in 3 stages viz. inflammation, repair and new bone formation.[5]


How is Ankylosing Spondylitis different from other arthritic diseases?

Other arthritic diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis) result in bone destruction, but Ankylosing Spondylitis involves both bone destruction and new bone formation which results in ‘Fusion’.[5]

Keeping this in mind, the next step would be to ensure that the treatment for Ankylosing Spondylitis targets both bone erosion and bone formation. There are treatment options now available, which target both erosion and formation effectively and slow down fusion.


Ask your Rheumatologist for biologics that slow down spinal fusion.


  1. Lories RJU and Schett G. Rheum Dis Clin N Am 2012;38:555–567
  2. Sieper J, et al. Ann Rheum Dis 2002;61(Suppl III):iii8–iii18
  3. Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis Available [Online] at: on 10 Dec 2018
  4. Gran JT, et al. British Journal of Rheumatology 1997;36:766-771
  5. Magrey MN and Khan MA. Curr Rheumatol Rep 2017;19:1


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