Things to consider before undergoing spinal narrowing surgery

In most cases, surgery to address spinal narrowing is considered a treatment of last resort. Very often, a patient diagnosed with narrowing of the nerve pathways in the spine, also known as spinal stenosis, can get relief from some combination of nonsurgical conservative treatment. The goal with this approach is to manage pain and reduce the strain on the affected region of the neck or back in the long term.

However, some people do find that conservative treatment does not deliver acceptable results, in which case surgical intervention may be considered. If you have been recommended to undergo a surgical procedure, it is important to consider all of the options available to you since not all spinal narrowing surgery is exactly the same.

Surgical options to treat spinal narrowing

The goal of spinal narrowing surgery is to access the spine and remove the source of narrowing, such as herniated disc material or a bone spur. There are many factors that need to be addressed to make sure this is done effectively though. The first step is a full evaluation to correctly identify the precise location, cause and severity of the problem — usually with the assistance of diagnostic imagery. Once the surgical team feels confident that the cause of spinal narrowing is accurately diagnosed, a specific surgical recommendation can be made.

While there are many specific procedures that can be performed depending on the condition, location and severity of the spinal narrowing, there are two primary approaches to spine surgery that you should be aware of:

  • Traditional open spine surgery. For years, this was the only type of spine surgery available. Accessing the spine involves a large incision, which disrupts surrounding tissue and requires overnight hospitalization followed by a long recovery period.
  • Minimally invasive surgery. This approach has become possible due to the development of muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a smaller incision. This means spinal narrowing surgery can be performed on an outpatient basis and with the possibility for a shorter recovery period.^

Laser Spine Institute

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Since 2005 our board-certified surgeons+ have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain at our outpatient centers across the United States. If you have exhausted conservative treatments for spinal narrowing and are considering surgery, reach out to us today to learn more about the advantages our procedures can offer.

Our dedicated team can help you obtain a no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.