In many cases the conditions causing spinal stenosis cannot be permanently changed by nonsurgical treatments, even though the pain and associated symptoms might be relieved for a period of time.
The effectiveness of the nonsurgical treatments, the extent of the patient’s pain, and the patient’s preferences may all factor into whether or not to have surgery. However, surgery might be considered immediately if a patient has severe or progressive neurological involvement.
The purpose of surgery is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves and to restore (or maintain) alignment of the spine. There are a variety of surgical procedures that can be performed depending on the presenting condition and symptoms:
- Artificial Disc Replacement: worn or damaged disc material between the vertebrae is removed and replaced with synthetic or “artificial” disc
- Laminectomy: removal of the lamina (roof) of one or more vertebrae to create more space for the nerves; this can be performed as an open surgery or with a minimally invasive method
- Discectomy: combination of decompression and removal of the herniated disc fragment, which can be done through an open surgery or a minimally invasive approach
- Spinal fusion: decompression and stabilization with instruments (rods and screws) and bone graft to stabilize the spine if arthritis has progressed to spinal instability
These treatments are options if you or a loved one suffer from the following conditions: