The mild® procedure is a minimally invasive surgical option for lumbar spinal stenosis. This outpatient procedure treats this condition by removing excess ligament tissue, which reduces compression on spinal nerves. Typically, the mild® procedure takes under an hour to complete.
What is the mild procedure?
The mild® procedure is a minimally invasive surgical option. This procedure, also known as minimally invasive lumbar decompression, treats severe back pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis is a degenerative condition that narrows one or more spaces within the spinal canal. These tightening spaces can cause the spinal nerves to become compressed, pinched, or irritated, resulting in back pain. Lumbar spinal stenosis refers to when this narrowing of the spinal canal occurs in the lower back.
The mild back procedure removes excess ligament tissue to restore space in the spinal canal, relieving pressure on spinal nerves. This can help reduce pain and restore mobility.
Who is a good candidate for the mild procedure?
Candidates for the mild procedure have lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), which has not responded to over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, and therapeutic injections. Characteristically, patients who are good candidates experience:
- Pain, numbness, tingling, or cramping in their lower back, legs, hips, or buttocks when standing upright or walking.
- Relief from lower back pain when they bend forward at the waist or sit down.
When patients with lumbar spinal stenosis stand or walk, it further narrows the spinal canal, leading to increased pain symptoms. The term for these symptoms is neurogenic claudication, also called pseudoclaudication.
How is the mild surgical procedure done?
mild® is an outpatient procedure generally performed with only local anesthetic and light sedation.
The mild® procedure is performed by a doctor using a single, tiny incision that is even smaller than a baby aspirin (measuring 5.1 mm) in size. They use special instruments under fluoroscopic guidance to remove small pieces of bone and excess, thickened ligament tissue.
This process restores space in the spinal canal and reduces pressure on the spinal nerves. The mild procedure for back pain is usually completed in under an hour.
What are the risks and possible complications of the mild procedure?
The complication rate of the mild® procedure is low, but all surgeries, including minimally invasive surgery, carry risks.
The mild® procedure is not for everyone. Risks include potential infection, bleeding, spinal cord damage, and nerve injury. Patients should discuss potential risks in depth with their doctor.
What are the benefits of the mild procedure?
The mild procedure can decrease pain and increase mobility while maintaining the spine’s structural integrity. It treats the underlying cause of the neurogenic claudication symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis.
The benefits of the mild procedure for spinal stenosis include:
- It is typically performed in less than 1 hour as an outpatient procedure.
- It normally enables patients to resume normal activities within 24 hours without restrictions.
- It requires no general anesthesia, implants, or stitches.
- It provides pain relief without the need for steroids or opioids.
- It has a low complication risk profile and success rate, as demonstrated in clinical studies.
- It provides a minimally invasive option to avoid more serious lumbar laminectomy surgery.
When can a patient return to work or school after the mild procedure?
Most mild® procedure patients return home the same day and resume normal activities within 24 hours with no restrictions.
How long does it take to experience improvements after having the mild procedure?
Many patients notice an improvement in their ability to stand longer and walk farther within a few days. In other cases, improvements in pain relief are experienced immediately after the procedure.
Some patients will have to rebuild strength after having been weakened by lumbar spinal stenosis. Achieving full benefits from the procedure may take three to twelve months post-surgery.