Spinal Stenosis Surgery – Procedure Overview

Whether caused by genetic factors, injury, or the aging process, spinal stenosis can disrupt your life. This common spinal condition develops when the spinal canal narrows, potentially closing in on the delicate spinal nerves and spinal cord. Back pain, reduced mobility, and neurological symptoms often accompany a spinal stenosis diagnosis. 

Table of Contents

  • Should I Have Surgery For Spinal Stenosis?
  • What Is the Best Surgery for Spinal Stenosis?
  • How Many Hours Is Spinal Stenosis Surgery?
  • Is Spinal Stenosis Surgery Done Under Anesthesia?
  • Is There an Age Limit for Spinal Stenosis Surgery?
  • Can You Get Paralyzed From Spinal Stenosis Surgery?
  • Can Spinal Stenosis Paralyze Your Legs?
  • How Long Is Bed Rest After Spinal Surgery?
  • What Are The Risks of Spinal Stenosis Surgery?
  • TOPS System for Treatment of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
  • Usually, spinal stenosis can be resolved with non-surgical treatment. But, unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all patients. If you need surgery for spinal stenosis, understanding the ins and outs of the procedure will help build your confidence and assuage any concerns. 

    This article will provide an overview of spinal stenosis surgery so that you can know what to expect as a patient. 

    Should I Have Surgery For Spinal Stenosis?

    You generally should have surgery for spinal stenosis if several months of non-surgical therapies haven’t helped, your symptoms are causing significant mobility problems, and/or if you’re experiencing severe symptoms. 

    Always talk to a spinal specialist before deciding whether or not to undergo spinal surgery. Many factors should be included in this decision, including your current health and medical history. 

    What Is the Best Surgery for Spinal Stenosis?

    The best surgery for spinal stenosis is decompressive laminectomy, according to the vast majority of today’s spinal specialists. 

    Decompressive laminectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing some or all of the lamina. The lamina is a portion of bone that covers the posterior side of the vertebrae. It acts like a roof to protect the spinal nerves and spinal cord.

    In patients with spinal stenosis, removing the lamina creates more space in the spinal canal and can help relieve nerve compression.

    Premia Spine TOPS System is a revolutionary device that helps preserve full motion in the lower back spine and recover from spinal stenosis.

    How Many Hours Is Spinal Stenosis Surgery?

    Spinal stenosis surgery can take two to six hours to complete, depending on the complexity of the procedure. The surgery may take longer if multiple spinal levels must be addressed or if spinal fusion is required. 

    Is Spinal Stenosis Surgery Done Under Anesthesia?

    Spinal stenosis surgery is done under general anesthesia. This means that you’ll be asleep during the entire procedure.

    Only some forms of minimally-invasive spinal surgery are done under local anesthesia. But, when minimally-invasive surgery is a viable option, it allows patients to avoid the risks of general anesthesia and leave the hospital sooner after the procedure.  

    Is There an Age Limit for Spinal Stenosis Surgery?

    There’s no formal age limit for spinal stenosis surgery. However, the younger a patient undergoes spinal surgery, the more likely they will require reoperation. 

    Additionally, many elderly patients are at a high risk of complications from surgery. Nonetheless, a study published in World Neurosurgery concluded that elective spinal surgery in patients older than 90 doesn’t reduce life expectancy and provides a good outcome for well-selected candidates. 

    Can You Get Paralyzed From Spinal Stenosis Surgery?

    You can get paralyzed from spinal stenosis surgery, but it’s a very uncommon complication of the procedure. It’s a risk of all forms of spinal surgery, given that it’s performed near the spinal nerves and spinal cord.

    Can Spinal Stenosis Paralyze Your Legs?

    Spinal stenosis is very unlikely to paralyze your legs. This can only happen if the spinal nerves or spinal cord in the lumbar region of the spine is left compressed for an extended period without treatment. 

    One study followed surgical candidates with lumbar spinal stenosis from 13 centers across the U.S. for eight years. Between the four and eight-year interval, none of the patients (whether they underwent surgery or not) experienced paralysis. This research illustrates how rare paralysis is for spinal stenosis patients. 

    Nonetheless, to ensure that paralysis from spinal stenosis isn’t a possibility, patients need to seek out prompt medical care from a licensed physician. 

    How Long Is Bed Rest After Spinal Surgery?

    Bed rest after spinal surgery typically isn’t very long, given that motion is important to the healing process. Most patients can get out of bed the same day or the day after spinal surgery. 

    Some forms of spinal surgery, like spinal fusion, require a longer recovery time than others. After spinal fusion, patients often undergo two weeks of highly restricted activity, and it can take four to six weeks to return to their normal routines. 

    Nonetheless, standing up out of bed and walking around throughout your recovery process will help the spine heal faster. This is because:

    • Movement prevents stiffness and muscle atrophy after surgery. 
    • Movement promotes blood flow to the healing spinal tissue, delivering oxygen and nutrients that the tissue needs to recover.
    • By keeping the muscles strong, movement helps prevent future injury to the spine. 

    What Are The Risks of Spinal Stenosis Surgery?

    The risks of spinal stenosis surgery include bleeding, infection, blood clots, nerve injury, and recurring pain. If spinal stenosis surgery involves a spinal fusion, patients are also at risk of bone fusion failure, lost mobility, and adjacent segment disease. 

    These risks are less prominent in minimally-invasive spine surgery, as the incision is smaller and less disturbance of the tissue is required. 

    TOPS System for Treatment of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

    The TOPS System is a revolutionary treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis. It’s a mechanical implant device that acts as an alternative to traditional spinal fusion for patients suffering from severe stenosis. 

    Spinal fusion is used to stabilize the spine after decompressive laminectomy. It works by fusing the affected vertebrae, eliminating all motion between them. Without the ability to move, the affected vertebrae can’t destabilize the spine or create a risk for injury. 

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    Bonnie explains why TOPS surgery was the right decision for her

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    Scott speaks about going to surgery

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    Unfortunately, spinal fusion can also diminish your spinal mobility. That’s why patients are turning to the TOPS System: to preserve the spine’s mobility while maintaining stability. 

    The TOPS System can be used between the L2 and L5 spinal segments. It restores the motion of the spine in every direction, immediately after the procedure. This allows patients to return to their favorite activities with a shorter recovery period than that of spinal fusion. 

    To learn more about the TOPS System for lumbar spinal stenosis, find a doctor in your area today.