When spinal stenosis affects nerves in your lower back, called the lumbar spine, that may lead to pain or cramping in your legs when you stand for a long time. It may also prompt back discomfort when you stand up and when you walk. This discomfort usually eases when you bend forward or sit down.
There are conservative treatment options available for patients with these moderate to severe lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) symptoms that enable them to avoid open spine surgery. However, when patients don’t respond to these conservative treatments, Main Line Spine offers a novel X-ray/fluoroscopic guided outpatient treatment called mild, which stands for minimally invasive lumbar decompression.
The mild procedure addresses a major root cause of lumbar spinal stenosis by removing thickened ligament tissue to restore space in the spinal canal. It decreases pain and increases mobility while maintaining the structural integrity of the spine. The procedure typically takes less than an hour and can be performed through a single, tiny incision smaller than the size of a baby aspirin. Also, it leaves no implants behind.
Because the bony architecture of the spine remains intact, spinal mechanics are not disrupted, and patients typically recover quickly. They are discharged home after about an hour and are able to begin a rehabilitation program afterwards. Patients are encouraged to walk regularly and/or participate in physical therapy following the procedure.
Who Is a Candidate?
Candidates for the mild procedure have lumbar spinal stenosis which has not responded to over-the-counter medications, physical therapy and therapeutic injections. Characteristically, patients who are good candidates:
- Experience pain or numbness in their lower back when standing upright.
- Experience pain, numbness, or tingling in their legs or buttocks when they walk.
- Have discomfort that is relieved when they bend forward at the waste or sit down.
These symptoms are collectively known as neurogenic claudication, also known as pseudoclaudication, which is the impairment in walking caused by the narrowing of the spinal cord nerve root canal, a condition known as spinal stenosis.
The mild procedure is an alternative for appropriate patients – specifically lumbar spinal stenosis patients who have moderate to severe symptoms, have tried conservative therapy to no avail, and who are not ready for (or represent high risk for) lumbar laminectomy surgery.