For patients with lumbar spinal stenosis, there are not many treatment options that bridge the gap between conservative care and invasive surgery. However, the Vertiflex® interspinous spacer is a minimally invasive procedure that offers patients with LSS many distinct advantages.
The spine undergoes many degenerative changes as a natural result of aging. However, some symptoms may actually be associated with a condition called lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). As it progresses, patients often experience unpleasant symptoms such as leg pain, numbness and cramping and decreased endurance when standing or walking.
Once you’ve received an LSS diagnosis, most doctors opt for conservative measures first and foremost. If this fails to provide relief from adverse symptoms, there aren’t many non-surgical options — that is, until now. The Vertiflex® interspinous spacer is a minimally invasive approach that allows the team at Spine Institute of North America to provide relief to our patients struggling with LSS.
What Is the Vertiflex® Interspinous Spacer?
The Vertiflex® interspinous spacer is an FDA-approved indirect decompression device that is implanted between the vertebrae to specifically address the symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis. If you have moderate degenerative LSS and conservative measures are not providing relief, there may not be a need to jump automatically to a surgical solution.
Made of titanium, the Vertiflex® interspinous spacer has an anatomic design that provides optimal fit for a patient’s individual anatomy. It acts as an extension blocker that not only relieves pressure on affected nerves, but it’s also a safe and effective alternative to more aggressive surgical options.
The lumbar spine is made up of five vertebrae. Between these are discs that cushion the bones, provide shock absorption and allow the spine to bend and rotate. Lumbar spinal stenosis narrows the space where nerves pass through the spine. Pressure on these nerves can cause pain and damage. Patients often experience relief from their LSS symptoms while sitting, laying on their back or when their feet are elevated.
LSS is accompanied by many painful symptoms, and the Vertiflex® interspinous spacer can be implanted to provide relief. The simple outpatient procedure is generally performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical center, and involves the following:
A small incision is made in your lower back.
The Vertiflex® interspinous spacer is an implant that is placed between the vertebrae through a small tube the size of a dime. This reduced tissue damage and blood loss.
The implant holds the vertebrae open, relieving pressure on the nerves in the spinal canal.
When the implant is placed, it has arms or projections, which open and surround the spinous process. This prevents the implant from becoming dislodged.
Patients generally enjoy a rapid recovery time and no destabilization of the spine. Once the procedure is complete, your physician will review some post-operative guidelines and care instructions. This includes limiting your activity levels and caring for your surgical site. Your doctor will also advise you on when you can increase your level of activity.
Benefits of the Vertiflex® Interspinous Spacer
This procedure provides a number of different benefits, especially when compared to more invasive surgical options. This includes:
Minimal blood loss
Reduced operating time and hospital stay
Reduced risk of infection
Maximized patient safety
Not long after the Vertiflex® interspinous spacer is implanted, you should recognize significant improvements, such as:
Reduced leg pain and other symptoms
Marked improvement in function
Increase in the number of activities you can participate in
What do we do?
Providing a thorough diagnosis to know the cause of your pain
Using the least invasive procedure that will relieve your pain quickly
Providing effective follow-up to ensure fast recovery
Ensuring that you remain fit so that you can enjoy long-term relief from pain
If you’ve been living with leg pain or other symptoms associated with lumbar spinal stenosis, you understand the toll it can have on your life. Talk to the team at Spine Institute of North America to learn more about how the Vertiflex® interspinous spacer could potentially treat your LSS and allow you the freedom to live a more active, fuller life. Contact us to make an appointment today.