The spine is designed to have enough space for the nerves in the spinal canal. But as aging occurs discs, vertebrae, and ligaments degenerate or require more space. This results in narrowing or stenosis, meaning that the nerves will be squeezed or pinched and pain or loss of sensation will occur.
This is the definition of spinal stenosis and if managing it has proven ineffective; if conservative treatments are not alleviating pain; and if the symptoms have not lessened after a significant amount of time, surgery for spinal stenosis may be necessary.
When surgery occurs, it should be as gentle as possible.
Step 1: Access
For access to the vertebral canal, a natural opening is used through the intervertebral foramen or the interlaminar window. Through an incision about the size of a keyhole the surgeon creates a pathway to the narrowing structures of the vertebral canal.
Step 2: Removing Tissue
To reach the impinging tissue, different instruments are inserted to remove the bony structures that are causing pain. By using a specialized endoscope, the surgeon has an illuminated view of all structures in the vertebral canal.
Step 3: Review & Completion
Following the operation, the surgeon will confirm that the affected neural elements are moving freely. The instruments will be removed and the incision is closed with a small bandage. The patient is normally back on their feet within a few hours and able to return home the same day.
Don’t let spinal stenosis affect your quality of life and restrict everyday activities. Reach out for a consultation and MRI review with the only endoscopic spine surgeon in the Upper Midwest–Dr. Dan Hanson.
Related Article: What happens if you do not treat Spinal Stenosis?