Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Back Surgery Information

Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Spinal stenosis surgery is a procedure commonly done to relieve the pressure caused by incremental damage to the spine. In many cases, either trauma or degeneration because of aging leads to weakening of the nerve roots which subsequently causes the spine to be partially enlarged. The enlargement compresses many of the nerves in the spine and this, in turn, causes side effects like extreme pain, numbness, or even weakening of the leg muscles due to compression of the sciatica nerve.

Spinal stenosis surgery, therefore, is done to remove the damaged portion of the spine and free it up so it can relax within the vertebral cavity. However, it should be carefully noted that surgery is not the first option for conditions that affect the spine leading to pain. In fact, doctors highly recommend that a thorough evaluation followed by non-surgical treatment procedures be followed prior to considering surgery.

The primary reasons why spinal stenosis surgery is considered include:

Extreme pain or partial paralysis followed by confirmation from imaging techniques that confirm the nature of the narrowing of the vertebral cavity. Extreme pain is a tricky discussion in some circles, although doctors would argue that if it amounts to being a debilitating condition which subsequently restricts one’s ability to move and perform daily tasks, then that can be considered as grounds for immediate surgery.

A pre-condition towards spinal stenosis surgery is that the patient does not have conditions that may be aggravated with the procedure. For example, heart conditions, which can be triggered under surgical stress, may cause the doctors to renege on surgery as a recommendation. Thorough evaluation should be done prior to definitively deciding that surgery is required to remedy conditions related to back pain and numbness.

Should spinal stenosis surgery be considered an option, doctors choose from several types of surgical procedures in order to effect the remedy. The most common of this is what is termed decompressive laminectomy which requires thinning down the vertebral walls to make extra space for the spinal column. The space means that the spinal cord is no longer compressed by the vertebral canal, and this is expected to reduce the symptoms being felt by the patient.

In cases where decompressive laminectomy is expected to considerably reduce the mechanical integrity of the spine, spinal fusion may be considered as a complementary option to spinal stenosis surgery. Spinal fusion means that certain vertebral sections are cemented together to provide extra rigidity and support, especially in those areas where the spinal cavity is thinned considerably. This is a proven method with a long list of documented results and in many cases, is even accredited as responsible for improving function by improving mobility altogether.

Given the seriousness of spinal stenosis surgery as a medical procedure, it is best that patient and doctor collectively weigh the pros and cons of having the procedure. Between the pain, the risk for damage during surgery, and the availability of alternative methods, a thorough deliberation must be conducted prior to determining the efficacy of getting spinal stenosis surgery for any patient with recurring back problems.