Are you a candidate for spinal narrowing surgery?

Spinal narrowing surgery, as a general rule, is seen as a last-resort treatment. Because surgery comes with inherent risks, most physicians would rather use nonsurgical measures to manage the symptoms of spinal narrowing, if possible. In fact, there are relatively few cases that cannot be effectively managed through some combination of conservative therapies.

If you’re wondering whether you might be a candidate for spinal narrowing surgery, it would be wise to ask yourself the following questions, which are often used by physicians to qualify patients for surgery.

How bad are my symptoms?

Typically, physicians will not recommend surgery for people who have mild symptoms that are more of minor annoyances than problems that detract from day-to-day life. However, people who have ongoing, severe symptoms that interfere with their ability to work, perform household tasks, participate in leisure activities and so forth may consider surgery. In rare but very severe cases that involve permanent nerve damage and a possibility of paralysis, such as with cauda equina syndrome, surgery may be considered a necessity.

Have I tried all available conservative treatments?

Odds are that if you’re considering spinal narrowing surgery, you have already tried one or more conservative therapies. However, the process of finding a treatment plan that is effective for you can take some trial and error, as well as patience. Although medications can usually provide short-term relief from pain and other symptoms, they are typically used in conjunction with exercise and physical therapy, which may provide more lasting relief. Lifestyle changes like eating a healthier diet and losing excess weight can also prove to be useful. Some patients even find complementary therapies like acupuncture and massage to be helpful components of their treatment plan.

Am I healthy enough for surgery?

If you have moderate to severe symptoms and have explored your nonsurgical treatment options, you may be a candidate for surgery. However, some types of surgery have contraindications that may deter a surgeon from recommending an operation for certain people. For instance, some individuals may have characteristics that would make the surgery and subsequent recovery especially difficult. People in this group may include the elderly, smokers and those with severe heart problems and other illnesses. For this reason, it is important to consult with a physician to determine if you are healthy enough to be considered for spinal narrowing surgery.

If you are thinking about spinal narrowing surgery, be sure to weigh your options. You may find that the minimally invasive spine surgery performed by Laser Spine Institute is the better choice for you than a traditional open back procedure.

We invite you to contact us today to learn more about our outpatient surgery and find out whether you’re a candidate by getting your no-cost MRI review.*