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Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal becomes narrow, putting pressure on your spinal cord. When narrowing compresses the nerves that exit the spinal canal, this is called foraminal stenosis. Both spinal and foraminal stenosis can be related to degeneration, herniated discs, bone spurs, synovial cysts, spondylolisthesis or other structural issue that cause compression of the nerves in the spine. Regardless of the cause, stenosis is basically a tight spot where the nerves are getting pinched. This results in nerve dysfunction, which can produce pain, weakness, or numbness.
Laminectomy is only one of many ways to treat spinal stenosis. It involves the surgical removal of an arch of bone called the lamina. By removing the lamina the spinal canal is opened up which gives the nerves more room and relieves the spinal stenosis.
When stenosis is mild, it can be treated with conservative treatment options, and surgery can often be avoided. As stenosis becomes more severe, however, often the only way to improve symptoms involves a surgical procedure to widen the tight area. This is called decompression. When the area gets decompressed, the spine may become unstable. As a result, a spinal fusion may be required to restore stability of the spine in cases of severe stenosis.
Depending on the severity of your stenosis and your individual needs, a variety of treatment options may be considered. To determine which options are right for you, discuss your condition with your doctor. Treatment options may include:
- Minimally Invasive Surgery
- Lumbar, thoracic or cervical bracing
- Spinal decompression
- Spinal Fusion
- Micro Surgery
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Steroid injections
- TENS units
- Pain management
- Massage therapy
At Texas Spine & Neurosurgery, we understand how valuable your time is. That is why, whenever possible, we rely on more conservative and less invasive treatment options to treat our patients. If it is possible to avoid surgery, we will. As symptoms progress, or the degree of stenosis becomes more severe, surgical options may become necessary. Sometimes, a minimally invasive spine surgery can be performed to fix a mild problem, such as a small herniated disc. For more severe cases, laminectomy with decompression and fusion may be required.
A minimally invasive approach is not the solution for all surgical problems in the spine or all cases of stenosis. One of the most common reasons patients require a second, or “revision” surgery is that they have undergone a minimally invasive procedure elsewhere to treat a problem which actually required a larger surgery to solve. When this happens, the patient is forced to undergo two surgical procedures instead of just one, increasing down time and pain. At Texas Spine & Neurosurgery, we will thoroughly evaluate all aspects of your health to ensure that you are treated properly the first time, minimizing the need for multiple procedures and getting you back on your feet as quickly as possible.
How We Can Help
At Texas Spine and Neurosurgery, we focus on you and your treatment. We are proud to spend extensive time with each patient individually, reviewing history, symptoms, images and anything else that makes you, well, you. Decisions about treatment will be made personally, between you and your doctor. Once we have discussed options, we will formulate a plan of treatment. This will always begin with the most conservative and non-invasive treatment options that are appropriate for you. We will discuss conservative, non-surgical care first, then advance to minimally invasive surgical options. We will discuss more involved surgical options for your treatment only if absolutely necessary. In short, your treatment will be specifically and specially tailored to you.
If you are suffering from the symptoms of spinal stenosis, please contact Texas Spine and Neurosurgery to learn how we can help.