Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition that most often surgery is recommended as a reliable form of treatment. The surgeries typically performed are a lumbar foraminotomy and a lumbar laminotomy.
To understand why surgery is such a recommended form of treatment, it is important to understand the cause of lumbar spinal stenosis and its effect on you. We will describe how this condition develops as well as signs and symptoms and an outline of the procedures: lumbar foraminotomy and lumbar laminotomy.
The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is degenerative arthritis. Degenerative arthritis is the most common type of arthritis. While this form of arthritis can develop at any age, it most often affects those in their mid-forties. It is not gender specific, meaning it can affect both men and women.
Degenerative arthritis is caused from the deterioration in your joints. This deterioration leads to damage and results in pain and stiffness. The parts of the body most affected are the spine, hips, knees, hands and feet.
Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Back pain in the lumbar region is the most common symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis and may be accompanied by pain and weakness in the legs. Some may also experience numbness in their legs.
Treatment for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
As with most conditions of the spine, before surgery is recommended, conservative forms of treatment are recommended prior to try and relieve the symptoms one experiences with lumbar spinal stenosis.
These may include, over the counter medications such as ibuprofen, anti-inflammatories and cortisone. There are also medications specifically for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis that target nerve pain.
Physical therapy is another form of treatment that may be recommended with the outcome of strengthening your muscles in the core region of your body. Exercises to increase your flexibility and range of motion are also part of this treatment.
Outcome of Lower Back Surgery
When conservative forms of treatment are not successful, surgery is often recommended to provide patients much sought relief from the pain and debilitating affect it has on their lives.
The purpose of having surgery to treat lumbar spinal stenosis is to decompress the nerves in the spinal canal or the vertebral foramen. The outcome of pain relief in both the lumbar foraminotomy and lumbar laminotomy has a high success ratio for the pain in the legs, however depending on the extent of nerve damage in the lower region of the back or spine, some patients may not experience full back pain relief.
This minimally invasive procedure involves the foramen. The foramen is the hole that a nerve root exits from the spinal canal. Due to the ageing process, bulging or herniated discs or damaged joints cause the foramen to narrow, thus resulting in pressure on the nerve. The surgery is performed to remove pieces of the bone that are pressing on the nerve, relieving pressure. Rather than traditional back surgery that often involves a large incision, general anesthetic and a longer recovery time, the minimally invasive procedure is performed with a small incision. The benefits are less scarring, no general anesthetic and no hospital stay.
This is another minimally invasive procedure that involves the lower spine and nerve root(s). This procedure is also known as a lumbar discectomy. This procedure is performed to relieve pressure on the nerve root(s). A lumbar discectomy is derived from the lumbar (lower back) and discectomy (the removal of a portion of the intervertebrall disc). A lumbar laminotomy is derived from the lumbar (lower back) and laminotomy (lamina - the bony covering of the nerve root). This procedure may involve the removal of a part of the lamina and if necessary, a portion of the intervertebral disc to relieve pressure of the nerve root. Again, this procedure is minimally invasive due to the small incision versus the larger incision of conservative or traditional lower back surgery.