Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
The lumbar region of the spine, often referred to simple as the “lower back”, is made up of five vertebrae in the lower part of the spine, located roughly behind the abdomen from the ribs to the pelvis. Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is caused by changes in the shape and size of the spinal canal over time. The spinal canal becomes progressively more narrow, which results in compression of the nerves traveling through the lower back and down into the legs. This natural degenerative process can cause anatomical changes at any time, but is most common in people over 50 years and may continue to progress with age.
Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
The common symptoms of LSS are:
- Leg, buttock, and groin pain
- Numbness, weakness, cramping, or stiffness in the legs, or buttocks
- Cramping in the calves with walking, requiring frequent short rests to walk a distance
- Pain radiating into one or both thighs and legs, similar to the lay term “sciatica”
- Pain may improve with bending forward, sitting or lying down
- Difficulty walking or standing but experience relief in the seated or flexed position
To diagnose spinal stenosis, your doctor may ask you about signs and symptoms, discuss your medical history, and conduct a physical examination. He or she may order several imaging tests to help pinpoint the cause of your signs and symptoms.
These tests may include:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- CT or CT myelogram
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Treatment Options
In the past, one of the most common treatments for this condition was a spinal fusion surgery. Spinal fusion surgery procedures can vary but basically they all revolve around the specific vertebra that is the origin of pain in a patient being surgically linked to adjoining vertebrae with metal hardware and a bone graft to maintain the spine’s strength and stability. The goals of surgery include relieving the pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots by creating more space within the spinal canal, but it is a very complicated and invasive procedure, with high risks that sometimes fail to even provide any significant improvement in a patients pain and mobility. There are other surgical risks as well, such as infection, a tear in the membrane that covers the spinal cord, a blood clot in a leg vein and/or neurological deterioration.
Minimally Invasive, Outpatient Implant Procedure
VertiFlex Superion aims to change that and reduce that risk in a meaningful and impactful way by offering a new and innovative treatment solution that is both minimally invasive and highly effective. VertiFlex Superion’s completely new, minimally invasive approach to treating lumbar stenosis fills the gap in the treatment continuum between conservative care and invasive surgery. Designed with patient safety and comfort in mind, Superion is implanted through a small tube the size of a dime to reduce tissue damage and blood loss. It’s a simple outpatient procedure with a rapid recovery time and no destabilization of the spine. VertiFlex Superion is FDA approved and has been clinically shown to be effective for up to 60 months.
Superion acts as an extension blocker, relieving pressure on the affected nerves through it’s “indirect decompression” implant. The Superion implant has an anatomic design that provides both an optimal fit and preserves a patient’s anatomy and ability to maintain motion. This provides pressure relief the same way that one would achieve relief in a seated or flexed position. The implant is available in multiple sizes to accommodate varying patient anatomy,
Superion ensures controlled movement and minimizes post-procedure complications. Superion was developed to provide patients with a safe and effective alternative when conservative treatment has failed and laminectomy is too aggressive. If you are interested in learning more, and want to see if you are eligible for VertiFlex Superion, click here to contact the Comprehensive Spine Pain Center and set up an appointment.