Spinal stenosis is a medical condition that occurs when the spinal column experiences narrowing, which causes spinal cord and nerve compression. Some patients do not experience spinal stenosis symptoms. For those that do, this condition can cause pain, limited mobility, discomfort, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness. Most specialists use conservative treatments like medication and physical therapy as the first line of treatment for these symptoms. However, Roswell spinal stenosis surgery may become necessary when the condition fails to respond to these treatments and cause progressive neurological symptoms or severe pain. The most common surgical treatments for spinal stenosis are:
A lumbar laminectomy is also called an open decompression. It involves removing a portion of or the entire vertebral lamina to alleviate compression in the spinal cord and around the nerves. Technically, the lamina are two thin plates of bone that form the posterior sections of the vertebrae and enclose the spinal cord. During a lumbar laminectomy, your surgeon identifies the section of the spinal cord experiencing compression and operates on the lamina there to relieve pressure. This procedure can usually alleviate leg stiffness and pain, improve leg function, and restore range of motion. Depending on the symptoms, it can be performed on one or several spinal levels.
Spinal stenosis can cause radiculopathy or pain, weakness, or numbness in the arm or hands. This is especially common when the spinal nerves are compressed. Moreover, nerve compression can cause loss of bowel and bladder control and reduced range of motion. A cervical laminoplasty is designed to relieve the pressure around the spinal nerves. During this procedure, your surgeon creates a hinge on one side of your lamina to create more space for the compressed nerves. Unlike a laminectomy, the lamina is not completely removed but left inside the body.
A laminotomy is similar to a laminectomy except your surgeon removes part not all of your lamina. During this surgery, they create a small hole in the lamina through which the tension in your spinal cord can escape. This hole is the only part of the lamina that is removed. It is usually placed at the exact source of compression, which your surgeon identifies through imaging and accesses through a small incision in your back. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, a laminotomy can be an open surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.
Surgeons often avoid open surgeries around the spinal cord because they require longer recovery times and carry more risk. An endoscopic discectomy is a minimally invasive treatment option for spinal stenosis. As with the other procedures, your doctor removes a section of your spinal disc that is damaged and likely contributes to nerve compression and irritation. However, the incision used is very small.
Discuss Spinal Stenosis Treatments with a Specialist
Spinal stenosis affects 5 out of every 1,000 American adults above 50, which means that your risk of developing this condition rises as you grow older. You may get spinal stenosis from an injury or an underlying condition like facet joint arthritis or herniated discs. Whatever the cause, the symptoms can sometimes be so severe as to significantly lower your quality of life. Fortunately, about 8 or 9 in every 10 spinal stenosis patients report finding relief after surgery. Call your doctor to discuss conservative spinal stenosis treatments and, if these fail, minimally invasive surgical procedures.