Spinal Stenosis: A debilitating condition

Anyone with back pain is certainly worried about the presence of a more severe condition, and how that will affect their lifestyle.  Whether it is a pulled muscle, an old sports injury or something more severe, there are treatment options available that usually will not require surgical procedures.  However, if you find yourself suffering from spinal stenosis, you are in a different category of treatment.

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column that puts excess pressure on the spinal cord, causing chronic nerve pain, mobility issues, and even numbness in the extremities.  It can only be corrected with a surgical procedure called a foraminotomy.  A foraminotomy is a procedure by which the pressure on the foraminal nerves is reduced by removing the excess bone or cartilage causing the nerve compression.  Traditionally, it was an extremely invasive procedure requiring large incisions, and causing blood loss enough to require transfusion.  The recovery times were rather extensive as well, requiring intense physical therapy and rehabilitation.

With the development of medical laser technology that started in the early 1980′s, we have found ourselves with the development of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS).  Essentially, because of the precision that can be achieved with a laser and a robotic control arm, spine surgeons are able to conduct procedures with small incisions and endoscopes.  The results have been promising, showing significantly decreased hospital stays, recovery times and blood loss.  Currently, a talented surgeon with the precision of a laser can conduct a foraminotomy in as few as 40 minutes.  Keeping that in mind, spinal stenosis was not something easy to correct in the past.  So long as medical technology continues to develop, stenosis will become easier to correct, and hopefully prevent in coming years.