Neurosurgeon Plano TX: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and How it's Treated
A neurosurgeon Plano TX treats disorders of the peripheral and central nervous system. This includes brain surgery, treatment for neck and back pain, thoracic surgery, lumbar fusion and carpal tunnel release. Some of their most requested treatments are performed to relieve incapacitating lower back pain from conditions like spinal stenosis.
Neurosurgeon Plano TX: Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis often occurs in elderly patients as a result of osteoarthritis or spondylolisthesis (the forward displacement of a vertebra). These conditions choke spinal nerves in the lower back, causing leg pain when the patient walks. When the patient rests, the pain disappears. Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis are more pronounced at certain times than others. The condition differs with every patient, and some people may need surgery while others benefit from more conservative treatment. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs gradually in patients over 50. Symptoms include sciatica (leg pain), claudication (in which sciatica occurs when walking) and tingling or weakness radiating from the lower back into the buttocks and legs. The condition may become debilitating and interfere with daily activities.
Neurosurgeon Plano TX: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis and Treatment
When a patient experiences leg pain when walking, but not when he or she is at rest, a neurosurgeon uses an MRI or CT scan with an X-ray dye (a myelogram) to determine if the condition is lumbar spinal stenosis. Once a conclusive diagnosis is made, it may be treated with exercise or activity modification. A physical therapist may recommend riding a stationary bike, swimming or Tai Chi. Walking with a cane (which causes the patient to lean forward) may be recommended, as well as avoiding long periods of standing or walking.
When physical therapy, exercise and activity modification don’t reduce symptoms, a lumbar laminectomy may be performed. This is a common treatment for advanced lumbar spinal stenosis and it has an 80% success rate. The neurosurgeon removes some of the bony rim around the spinal canal (the lamina) to reduce pressure caused by a pinched nerve. This procedure is referred to as an open decompression. This surgery requires a longer incision and more muscle removal than a microdiscectomy. The facet joints, which are positioned over the nerve roots, are trimmed to give the nerves more room and eliminate pain. After the surgery, patients remain in the hospital for one to three days. They should walk as soon as possible after the operation, but avoid unnecessary twisting, bending and lifting for six weeks after the procedure.
The Brain and Spine Center of Texas offers treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis, including lumbar laminectomy performed by Rebecca E. Stachniak, M.D., a top neurosurgeon Plano TX. If you have pain in your leg when you walk and think you may have lumbar spinal stenosis, give us a call at 972-943-9779 to request an appointment or fill out the appointment form on our website.