Spinal canal stenosis surgery is an advanced treatment option for addressing a narrowing effect that occurs within the spinal canal. This condition, which is often associated with age-related spinal degeneration, does not always cause problems or require treatment. However, it can potentially be very painful. Here’s why:
The spinal canal houses and protects the spinal cord as well as a network of sensitive nerve roots, and the space within it is limited. If this narrow tunnel is further encroached by an inflamed joint, bone spur, herniated disc or thickened ligament (all of which are common effects of spinal degeneration), painful nerve compression can occur.
When to think about surgery
For many people, nonsurgical approaches, such as physical therapy and medications, are effective enough to eliminate the need for surgery, both immediately and in the future. Typically, canal stenosis surgery is reserved as a last resort treatment for patients who meet two key criteria. The first is that they are experiencing severe pain or other symptoms that are affecting their daily lives. The second is that they have tried to address their discomfort with conservative therapy over the course of several weeks or months but have been unable to find sufficient relief.
Types of spinal narrowing surgery
There are several types of canal stenosis surgery that can be performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root. For instance, based on a patient’s specific needs, a surgeon might recommend:
- Discectomy. A surgeon removes part or all of a herniated or bulging disc that is pressing on the spinal cord or a nerve root.
- Minimally invasive stabilization. A surgeon removes a damaged disc and inserts an implant in its place to enhance spinal stability and relieve pain.
- Laminotomy. A surgeon removes a portion of a spinal bone (lamina) to create more space for the spinal cord or a compressed nerve root.
Prior to committing to a specific type of canal stenosis surgery, you are encouraged to explore all of your options. These may include both traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive outpatient surgery.
At USA Spine Care, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery as an alternative to traditional open spine surgery for canal stenosis treatment. Unlike procedures performed with a traditional approach, our surgery is performed on an outpatient basis using muscle-sparing techniques. These techniques help our patients avoid the lengthy recovery and rehabilitation periods required by traditional open spine surgery.^
If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive canal stenosis surgery at USA Spine Care, contact us today.