Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Boise, Idaho

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What is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery?

Surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis is a procedure used to correct the narrowing of the spinal space in the lower back. The narrowing may be due to a number of factors. Including age, spinal arthritis, Paget's disease, spondylolysis, tumor, and spinal fracture. If the narrowing or stenosis is not treated, it it exerts pressure on the spinal nerve roots, and it may lead to paralysis, incontinence, numbness, and other disorders of the nervous system.

Why you May Need Spinal Stenosis Treatment

Surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis may be necessary if:

  • Your lumbar spinal stenosis causes severe leg pain or numbness.
  • The lumbar spinal stenosis causes severe weakness that deprives you of the ability to perform your daily activities.
  • Other treatment methods, including steroid injections, medications, and physiotherapy fail to work.
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How to Prepare for Stenosis Surgery for Lumbar Spine

Like any other surgical procedure, surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis requires you to get your body to an optimal condition for the procedure. Preparation is important in enhancing the results of the procedure and minimizing the chances of possible complications. It involves:

  • Stopping smoking prior to the procedure. Cigars and cigarettes contain harmful chemicals that slow down wound healing.
  • Reducing your weight if you are overweight. You can do this by engaging in physical exercises. Exercises will also ensure that your muscles are flexible and ready for the procedure.
  • Avoiding blood thinning medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen. These medications hinder blood clotting, leading to excessive bleeding during surgery.
  • Sharing with your surgeon information about any other medications you may be taking, including herbal and non-prescription medications.
  • Disclosing any medical allergies with your surgeon.
  • No longer eating any food 8 hours before the surgery.
  • You should also tell the surgeon about any medical conditions you suffer from. This will help in determining whether you are the right candidate for the procedure.

Types of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Lumbar spinal stenosis can assume various forms, including laminectomy, laminotomy, and minimal invasive surgery.


This type of surgery aims at removing the lamina, the back part of the damaged spine. It is also known as decompression surgery because it ensures that adequate space is created around the spinal nerve roots. The adequate space reduces the pressure exerted on the nerve roots. While surgeons perform this procedure with spinal fusion in some cases, other cases of laminectomy do not involve spinal fusion. Spinal fusion is necessary when spinal stability is compromised.

This is a surgical procedure that involves partial removal of the lamina. This procedure creates a hole in the spine to ease pressure in the affected spot.

This involves the removal of the lamina without causing any significant injury to the surrounding body tissue. Hence, fusion may not be necessary.


What Are The Complications Related to Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery?

While the success rate of lumbar spinal stenosis surgery is high, complications can occur, including:

  • Severe bleeding during the procedure. However, this is a rare complication, as lumbar spine does not contain major blood vessels.
  • Nerve root injury, which may cause weakness, numbness, or the inability ro control your bladder.
  • Infection. Further surgeries and use of antibiotics may be necessary to address the infections.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak is due to a possible tear of the dural sac. However, the leak does not affect the results of the procedure. Lying down for a day may be enough to stop the leak.
  • Anesthesia risks, which may cause difficulty breathing.
  • Failure of the spine to improve or heal completely.

Before undergoing the surgery, it is important to ensure that your surgeon is a well-experienced person. Be sure to know the history of the doctor to determine if he/she is competent enough to perform the procedure. Ask if your surgeon is Spine Fellowship trained. An experienced surgeon will help you reduce the chances of complications.

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What Happens During Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Surgery?

The surgeon will begin by administering a general anesthetic for you to become unconscious. Certain aspects of your health, including blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen, will be monitored using a heart monitor and blood pressure cuff during the entire session. Based on your health status, your surgeon may use a minimally invasive incision to complete this surgery.

Once you become unconscious, the surgeon will create a cut in your back to access the diseased spine. He will remove the damaged lamina using appropriate surgical instruments. To complete the process, your surgeon will close the incision with stitches or staples and dress the wound.

In cases where the spinal bones have slipped over one another, the surgeon will perform a spinal fusion to add stability to the spine. The fusion will also be necessary if you have a spinal curvature. It involves connecting the vertebrae with bone grafts, screws, or metal rods.

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Recovery Process for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

You will be taken to the recovery room after the procedure. Your healthcare givers may ask you to try moving certain parts of your body once you become conscious. You may be instructed to use painkiller medications to relieve pain during the recovery. Depending on your condition, you may go home the same day or stay in the hospital for a few days following the procedure.

While at home, a physiotherapy program will be prescribed for you. The program will help you regain stability and strength. Although you may be able to perform lighter activities after a few weeks, you will need to avoid intensive physical activities. including weight lifting, pulling, and pushing, for at least 6 weeks following the procedure. You will need to avoid these activities for at least 3 months if you have a fusion.

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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis surgery can be very successful in resolving your lumbar spinal issues in cases where other treatment methods fail.

Visit an Orthopedic Specialist at Capital Surgical Associates

Our orthopedic specialists, Dr. Hessing, Dr. Applonie, and Dr. Johnson, are here to help if you are in pain from an injury or dealing with a chronic condition.

Contact Capital Surgical Associates
Dr. Jeffrey Hessing, Shoulder Surgery Specialist in Boise, Idaho
Dr. Ryan Applonie, Shoulder Surgery Specialist in Boise, Idaho
Dr. Miers Johnson, Orthopedic Specialist in Boise, Idaho