Treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis varies from patient to patient. Generally, non-surgical options are used first, with surgery advised only when other alternatives are proven unsatisfactory or unsuitable.
Non-surgical treatments are limited to relieving symptoms and cannot reverse the narrowing of the spinal canal. This includes:
- Anti-inflammatory medications; these must be used with care and medical supervision
- Steroid (cortisone) injections
- Chiropractic care
Spinal decompression surgery may be needed to create space for the compressed nerves and in addition, spinal fusion may be needed in cases of severe arthritis or a herniated disc which can result in excessive motion between vertebra, and in such cases, spinal fusion helps to stabilise the spin by permanently connecting two or more vertebrae.
Surgical treatment may be advised for patients whose quality of life is severely impacted, such as being unable to walk for extended periods, or those who have found non-surgical treatments unsatisfactory in relieving their symptoms. The procedure is known as a laminectomy.
Laminectomy, or decompression laminectomy, is a procedure that allows the surgeon to cut away the bony spurs, thickened ligaments or other growths that have compressed the nerves. It can be performed as an open surgery with one large incision or through small keyhole / minimally invasive incisions.
This is performed while you are lying face-down, under general anaesthesia so you will be asleep during the procedure. The surgeon will make an incision in your back and gain access to the affected part of your vertebrae. Decompression laminectomy involves removing unwanted parts of the spine which are compressing on the nerves.
After spinal decompression, bone grafts and screws may be placed if fusion is deemed necessary to stabilise the spine or to correct deformity.
Consult an orthopaedic specialist to learn more treatment and management options for your spine condition.
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