Characterized by a compression of the discs that places pressure on the nerves of the spine, spinal stenosis can cause a great deal of pain. Not only will this pain decrease your ability to complete everyday tasks, but it can also cause emotional distress that affects your quality of life. Fortunately, help is available. If you are currently suffering from the pain and immobility associated with spinal stenosis, here are a few surgical options to consider.
A laminectomy is one of the most popular surgical treatments for spinal stenosis because 70 to 80 percent of patients experience enormous improvement in their pain and mobility after the surgery.
During a laminectomy, the surgeon will remove the lamina, a portion of the vertebrae, and possibly any bone spurs and connecting ligaments. The removal of these portions of the spine creates space for the nerves, decreasing pressure and pain caused by the spinal stenosis.
Even though a laminectomy is a common surgery for spinal stenosis patients, it may not be right for you. Schedule a consultation with your doctor to determine if you are a good candidate for the laminectomy or one of the other following surgeries.
Before you can understand the foraminotomy procedure, you need to understand what the foramen consists of. Basically, the foramen is the hollow passageway where the nerves of the spine exit.
If you have spinal stenosis, the compression of the vertebrae places excess pressure on the foramen and the nerves. This pressure not only causes pain in the spine but also other areas of the body because of the connecting nerves. You may experience leg pain, for instance, because of the compressed foramen.
The foraminotomy procedure expands the foramen area, creating more space so that the vertebrae do not compress on the foramen and nerves.
Spinal fusion surgery is a bit more involved and is usually best for patients with a more severe case of stenosis. Also known as stabilization of the spine, the fusion surgery may involve multiple steps depending on your current needs.
Most fusion surgeries are recommended for patients with stenosis that has caused instability of the vertebrae. Also, if your surgeon needs to remove the lamina in multiple vertebrae, fusion will be necessary to stabilize the spine.
If you are living with the discomfort and stress of spinal stenosis, talk to a spinal surgeon about your options today. With the right plan, you will be able to walk, sit, stand, and move in a pain-free, effective manner.