When does spine narrowing require surgery?

In general, spine narrowing surgery is required only if an individual’s pain continues or worsens after several weeks or months of conservative treatment. Many patients find nonsurgical therapies like medications and exercise to be highly effective for symptom relief, even though those treatments do not address the underlying cause of the spine narrowing (stenosis). Sometimes, treatments can work well for some patients and be completely ineffective for others. That’s why the process of finding the best approach often takes time, patience and a little bit of trial and error.

On the other hand, spine narrowing surgery may be required right away in the rare instance that an individual’s symptoms indicate a medical emergency that is either life threatening or could result in permanent disability. Warning signs include a sudden loss of bladder or bowel control, progressive numbness or muscle weakness in the hips and legs, and severe abdominal pain.

Spine narrowing surgery

When surgery is advised, the goal is usually to address the source of the spine narrowing. This could be a bone spur, inflamed ligament or bulging disc that has invaded the spinal canal and is causing pain by pressuring the spinal cord or a nerve root. To relieve pressure, a surgeon may remove, trim or reposition the problematic tissue.

The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute perform several minimally invasive techniques designed to treat the various causes of spine narrowing. For instance, we offer the following minimally invasive decompression procedures:

  • Discectomy — Removal of a portion of a damaged disc
  • Foraminotomy — Removal of damaged disc material or other tissue that is narrowing a passageway for a spinal nerve root
  • Laminotomy — Removal of a portion of the lamina

Laser Spine Institute

At Laser Spine Institute, our surgeons perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that are often the clinically appropriate first choice compared to traditional surgical treatment of spine narrowing. These procedures provide many advantages over open neck or back surgery, including a shorter recovery time^. As a result, we have achieved a patient satisfaction score of 97 percent.

If you’re considering spine narrowing surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to find out if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures by getting your no-cost MRI review*.