Spinal decompression is a surgical treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). LSS is a degenerative condition of the vertebrae, muscles, discs and ligaments that make up the spine.
What Causes Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?
LSS usually occurs as a natural result of aging, wear and tear on the body, bone degeneration or conditions like osteoarthritis and degenerative spondylolisthesis. It involves a narrowing of the spinal canal which causes pressure in the lower back. Most patients with LSS are 50 years of age or older.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?
The pressure can cause severe pain, weakness and numbness in the back and legs. There can be leg pain that worsens with standing or walking and is only relieved by sitting down. There may be tingling that radiates from the lower back into the legs and buttocks. The symptoms of LSS are not necessarily progressive over time, but they can be. Symptoms can fluctuate between severe discomfort and no discomfort at all.
What Is The Prognosis For Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?
Over time, the space in the spinal canal that houses the nerves becomes increasingly narrow. This puts more and more pressure on the lumbar spinal nerves and reduces their ability to connect with the lower extremities. The symptoms can be debilitating as they worsen.
Nonsurgical Treatments For Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
The first line of defense for treating LSS is nonsurgical and/or alternative therapies such as chiropractic treatments, pain medications, steroidal injections, physical therapy, exercise, acupuncture, massage and a lumbar brace. Nonsurgical treatments often prove ineffective. In such cases, Dr. Spivak will suggest that surgical options be considered.
Surgical Decompression For Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Dr. Spivak may recommend a surgical decompression (or laminectory) procedure. Surgical decompression can be performed via a large or small incision through which Dr. Spivak can extract any soft tissue, bone spurs, ligaments or bone that are pressuring the nerves and causing pain and discomfort. After the procedure is completed, the pressure will be removed, and the nerves can once again function normally. The only consideration is that surgical decompression can sometimes cause the spine to become unstable.
Surgical Decompression With Spinal Fusion
After performing surgical decompression for LSS, Dr. Spivak will attach metal rods and screws to keep bones in the proper position until the vertebrae fuse together. Decompression with spinal fusion is an effective treatment for pain and discomfort caused by LSS. It also provides good stability, but it can interfere with range of motion in the part of the spine where the procedure was performed.
Coflex® Interlaminar Stabilization™ Device
Another surgical option offered by Dr. Spivak for LSS is the Coflex® Interlaminar Stabilization™ device. This innovative device provides excellent spinal stability, greater mobility, relief from pain and discomfort and a speedier recovery than spinal fusion surgery.
As a board-certified neurosurgeon and president of Executive Spine Surgery, Dr. Carl Spivak is well known for his minimally invasive approach to spine surgery. Dr. Spivak specializes in state-of-the-art spinal procedures that allow for faster recovery, less pain, and less down time than traditional surgical procedures.