Spinal Stenosis Surgery
Spinal stenosis surgery will provide relief for lumbar spinal stenosis in the short term and in the long term. Usually it is advised that you wait until you have tried all other options before considering surgery because it is a major surgery and will put you back a long time, although it may cause relief.
About 25% of patients experience symptoms again at some point after surgery, so it is no sure fix. If you are experiencing numbness or weakness, difficulty or pain standing and if you are still experiencing significant symptoms after you have retired all other methods, then you should consider surgery.
Where to Go?
The surgery can be performed by laminectomy, spinal fusion, endoscopic spinal surgery, and foraminotomy. The idea of these surgeries is to relieve stress that is being placed on the spine and the spinal cord and nerves. The surgery aims to enlarge the spinal canal, giving the area more space and reducing the amount of pressure. Some of these surgeries may remove damaged pieces as well and spinal fusion is performed if the spine seems to be unstable.
With a laminectomy, the surgeon removes the ligament that connects to the lamina, the bony arch of the vertebra, and then pulls the nerve root back towards the center of the spinal column and removes any necessary pieces that may be causing pain.
‘Keyhole’ surgeries, such as endoscopic surgery, are done using just a tiny incision. The surgeon places an endoscope in one tiny incision and uses a tiny camera and light to view the area that the surgeon is working on. This makes the surgery minimally invasive
and expatiates recovery time, although it is still a big surgery.
How does it Feel?
Following surgery you should expect to be in some pain. Pain medication and ice should be taken seriously because without these two things, you will be in excruciating pain. Pain that was felt in the legs often times is immediately relieved, if it is not then talk to your surgeon because that means that the spine is still irritated or injured and that the problem has not been fixed properly.
Unless your job requires a lot of heavy lifting or sitting, such as a truck driver, you should be able to return to work after about a month and a half. Most people choose to get back to work as soon as they can, so that is a good thing.
Spinal stenosis surgery will widen the spinal canal by removing bits and pieces of damages tissue or bone and if needed, an affected nerve will be moved to its appropriate place where it is out of harms way and can no longer be irritated or pinched. There are surgeries that require a large incision such as a laminectomy and there are other surgeries that are only minimally invasive, and use tools with cameras and lights to see the area, rather than the surgeon actually looking directly with his or her eyes.
Spinal stenosis surgery should really only by considered as a last resort. Be sure to talk to your doctor and try and find and try any and all other methods techniques, and treatments possible first. Surgery will put you out of commission for a while and a permanent fix is not guaranteed so be sure to really think about its pros and cons before going through with it.