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Spinal stenosis surgery: what are the goals?

In most cases, a spinal stenosis operation is considered the treatment of last resort when you have not found relief through nonsurgical means. A large number of patients suffering from painful symptoms caused by stenosis are actually able to get effective treatment from more conservative methods. But when other options have been exhausted, surgery is sometimes needed to treat the source of the pain.

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of spinal nerve pathways that can cause chronic pain if a nerve becomes compressed. This narrowing is usually a direct result of a degenerative spine condition, which can occur from natural age-related wear and tear.

Here are a few examples of the conditions that can lead to spinal stenosis:

  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Bone spurs from arthritis
  • Facet disease
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Swollen ligaments

When is a spinal stenosis operation necessary?

Spinal stenosis does not always cause symptoms; in fact the condition can go undiagnosed for a long time if nerve tissue does not become compressed or irritated. Only when the source of narrowing — such as a bone spur or herniated disc — interferes with the spinal cord or a nerve root will disruptive local or radiating symptoms occur.

If you and your physician have tried weeks and months of nonsurgical methods like rest, medication, hot/cold compression or physical therapy, and these treatments haven’t brought relief needed for an acceptable quality of life, surgery may then be considered. The goal of a spinal stenosis operation is to remove the source of narrowing and decompress the nerve tissue that is causing painful symptoms. Traditionally, these types of procedures have required a large incision to access the spine, resulting in muscle disruption, hospitalization, blood loss and a long rehabilitation.

At USA Spine Care, we offer a number of minimally invasive procedures that can help you find relief from neck or back pain in an outpatient setting. Our procedures involve a less than 1-inch incision and other muscle-sparing techniques that lead to less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine surgery.

Contact us today for a no-cost review of your MRI* to learn whether you’re a potential candidate for a minimally invasive spinal stenosis operation.

Learn more today

If you're living with spinal stenosis in the upper spine and searching for relief, reach out to USA Spine Care for help. Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping people develop the right care plan to  reach treatment goals and achieve lasting relief.

Contact us today to learn more. Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.

Spinal Stenosis "Quick Answers"

Depending on the region and severity Spinal stenosis feels like tingling, burning and/or weakness in the hands, arms, neck, lower back or legs. It may also feel like a radiating pain or shooting shock-like pain. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Overview Defining Spinal Stenosis Researching Spinal Stenosis Learning About Back Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Pathophysiology
The types of spinal stenosis are region based and consist of cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back) and lumbar or lower back. In addition, foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the foramen. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis of the Neck Cervical Stenosis - Basic Facts Neck Stenosis Causes Neck Stenosis Treatment Central Canal Stenosis Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis in the Back
Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition, most often located in the Lumbar spine, may be caused by degeneration of the spine, wear and tear, sports injury, & collapsing discs. Read more in the links below. What Causes Spinal Stenosis? Obesity May Lead to a Stenosis Diagnosis Age and its Role in the Development of Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Causes Identifying Common Causes From Birth Defects to Getting Older Degenerative Conditions Car Accident Injuries
The symptoms of spinal stenosis include tingling or numbness in the extremities, pain and weakness in the neck, back and/or legs. In severe cases bladder, bowel dysfunction/continence. Learn more in the links below: What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis What Should I Do If I Think I Have Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis and Hand Pain Recognizing Spinal Stenosis Have You Been Diagnosed? About Your Diagnosis Diagnostic Process Helping Your Physician How a Diagnosis Is Made Arriving at a Diagnosis
Physician specialties that treat spinal stenosis include: Pain management & rehabilitation physicians, spine surgeons, orthopedic specialists & neurosurgeons. Read more about these specialties in the links below: Doctors Who Treat Spinal Stenosis Spinal Decompression Doctors
Patients can expect recovery to last 4-6 weeks in most cases (depending on the complexity of your condition). People who choose minimally invasive spine surgery recover faster and get back to work sooner than those who choose open back surgery. Read more in the links below: Recovery After a Procedure What to Expect Recovery Times

  • Problems from anesthesia.
  • A deep infection in the surgical wound.
  • A skin infection.
  • Blood clots.
  • Nerve injury, including weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
  • Tears in the fibrous tissue that covers the spinal cord and the nerve near the spinal cord. These tears may require more surgery.
  • Trouble passing urine, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Long-term (chronic) pain, which happens after surgery in some cases.
  • The chance that the surgery won't relieve your symptoms. And even if you get better with surgery, there is a chance that you may get new symptoms in the future.
  • Death from problems caused by surgery, but this is rare.

Read more in the links below: Overview of Risk Factors Most Common Risk Factors Obesity & Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis & Arthritis Treating Elderly Patients

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