Lumbar spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower regions of the spine, affecting your spinal cord and nerve roots. This narrowing can put added pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves traveling through the spine to the extremities.
Spinal Stenosis can result in neurological deficits including, but not limited to, pain, numbness, tingling, incontinence and loss of motor control.
Symptoms occur gradually and can increase over time, however, these symptoms do not always present themselves immediately, so the condition can progress for some time without the patient’s knowledge. Spinal stenosis most often affects people older than 50. When younger people develop spinal stenosis, it is generally due to a genetic malady affecting muscle and bone development.
One of the most common causes of spinal stenosis is damage related to osteoarthritis. Other common causes include:
Diagnosis involves an evaluation of the spine, including an MRI scan. Specific testing is vital, because certain stenosis symptoms can resemble other age-related conditions. We use imaging tests to diagnose and eliminate potential causes and accurately determine the actual causes. Patients who cannot have an MRI may receive a CT myelogram scan.
Once an accurate diagnosis is reached, we can discuss treatment options and develop a specific treatment plan for you.
Treatment options available to care for patients with spinal stenosis symptoms include non-surgical and non-surgical options. The effectiveness of non-surgical treatments is unclear, and many times they are only of temporary benefit. These include medications to reduce inflammation, exercise, weight loss, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections.
Traditional surgeries to treat lumbar stenosis typically involve removing the roof of bone overlying the spinal canal, placing screws and bars within the spine to stabilize the spine. These surgeries have a reasonable success rate, but they are major surgeries that often require long hospital stays and long recovery times. These surgeries can also cause other problems including degeneration in and around the disks, which can lead to chronic pain.
An exciting, safe and effective new option
Superion, developed by Vertiflex and recently approved by the FDA, is specifically designed to treat lumbar spinal stenosis with “Band-Aid” surgery. In most cases, the patient is even able to return home the same day. Unlike traditional surgical options to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, Superion is:
Superion offers a proven effective compromise between conservative care and major surgery. The success rate is comparable to traditional surgeries, but no bone or ligament is removed, and no screws or bars are placed. A one-inch incision is cut into the skin, and a port about the size of your little finger is placed for the procedure. All surgery is completed through this finger-sized port, before the port is removed and the small incision stitched closed.
While rare, untreated cases of spinal stenosis can continue to worsen, causing permanent numbness, balance issues, weakness, incontinence and even paralysis.
But there is no reason for you to risk these complications. Contact Atlanta Spine Specialists today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Michael Skaliy to discuss your symptoms and your treatment options.