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Lumbar Stenosis Treatment
Lumbar Stenosis Treatment: Spinal Stenosis Surgery
Although surgical treatment for lumbar stenosis is usually used as a last resort, it is the only form of treatment for this condition that does not only treat the symptoms of the condition. Surgical treatment actually changes the anatomy of the spine so as to provide more room for the spinal cord and the nerves. The choice of whether or not a patient diagnosed with lumbar stenosis should have surgery is dependent on the extent of damage to the condition. This is determined by the extent of physical disability of the patient and the amount of pain the patient is experiencing. If surgery is required there are two options that are considered.
Decompression surgery which involves a microdiscectomy or an open laminectomy involves the removal of part of the large facet joint. This decompresses the nerves by preventing them from being squeezed every time the patient stands up. This surgery is highly effective in reducing pain felt. 80% of the lumbar stenosis cases that undergo this surgery experience improved function. However, the results are not permanent. As degeneration is a normal part of the ageing process, deterioration is experienced typically after 5 years. This is accelerated by the occurrence of progressive osteoarthritis.
The second surgical procedure is known as interspinous process device surgery. This surgery involves the use of interspinous process devices that are commercially available such as the X-STOP. These devices are placed in positions whereby they open the spaces through which nerves leave the spine. They also act as restrictors limiting the backward extension of the spine. This results in less pressure being placed on the spine and also relieves the pain experienced by the patient. This is a relatively new treatment for lumbar stenosis. The effectiveness of the procedure is yet to be determined.
Other implants have been developed for the treatment of lumbar stenosis. These include facet joint replacement implants. They are used to replace a facet after its removal and decompression. Total element replacement devices are used to conserve motion. They are implanted after decompression. Both face joint replacement implants and total element replacement devices can be used in interspinous process device surgery.
Treatment of Lumbar Stenosis
Surgical treatment for lumbar stenosis is usually used as a last resort.
Article published March 4th, 2011
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