Spinal stenosis — open back surgery for spinal stenosis treatment

Spinal stenosis is a term used to describe the narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is the home of the spinal cord, the spine and several nerve roots. When the spinal canal narrows, it can compress one of the nerve roots and cause pain. Another possible outcome of spinal stenosis is that it can compress the spine and cause the vertebrae to misalign, thus compressing a nerve root.

The most common symptom of spinal stenosis is chronic pain in the neck or lower back — the two most common locations of spinal stenosis. If left untreated, spinal stenosis can worsen and prevent you from doing your daily activities, such as standing for lengths of time, walking, and/or bending.

If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis and you have not found any relief from conservative treatment options, such as physical therapy or chiropractic care, you might be eligible for a surgical treatment to help alleviate your chronic pain.

Traditional open back surgery for spinal stenosis

When most people consider surgery for spinal stenosis, they think about traditional open back surgery. Open back surgery is typically performed in the hospital and requires several days of postoperative hospitalization for recovery. The total recovery time is usually six months to a year.

During open back surgery or traditional back surgery, a long incision (usually 5 to 6 inches) is made through the muscles and soft tissues to access the affected part of the spine. The surgeon then removes any bone matter or tissue causing nerve or spinal cord pressure. If necessary, an implant will be inserted to stabilize the spine if a significant amount of bone matter or tissue was removed. This is considered a fusion surgery.

Traditional open back surgery is associated with more than double the infection and complication rate of minimally invasive alternatives.

Minimally invasive alternatives

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery with our minimally invasive spine surgery. Our surgeries come in two facets: minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery.

Both surgeries are performed through a small incision. The muscles and soft tissue surrounding the spine are left undisrupted throughout the surgery to prevent minimal scarring and offer a shorter recovery time.^ Our most common minimally invasive surgeries for spinal stenosis are:

Consult your physician to determine the cause of your spinal stenosis and the best conservative treatment options available for your condition. If conservative, non-surgical treatments fail to provide you with pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about whether you are a candidate for our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.

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