Spinal stenosis is the medical term given to a condition causing narrowed spinal canal. Spinal stenosis is a degenerative spine condition most commonly diagnosed in the lower back (lumbar region) or the neck (cervical region) of the spine.
The spinal canal narrows and places pressure against nerves, literally compressing them. For this reason, a spinal stenosis operation is also called decompression surgery. The spinal condition is usually blamed on normal wear and tear on the spine through aging, though a degenerating or bulging disc may also cause spinal stenosis. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, limited range of motion, pain and reduced mobility, depending on the area of the spine where the stenosis occurs.
Who Benefits from Spinal Stenosis Treatment or Surgery?
Individuals, especially those approaching or surpassing middle age may benefit from various approaches to spinal health. Spinal stenosis may affect others with degenerative bone conditions as well as those diagnosed with arthritis or osteoporosis.
Spinal stenosis usually is diagnosed in the lower back region, often leading to sciatica, which causes numbness and pain in the lower extremities and may impair mobility. However, individuals suffering from cervical stenosis will benefit from treatments and procedures to eliminate or reduce numbness in the upper extremities, shoulders, neck and arms.
Surgical Stenosis Treatment Options
The most common type of spinal stenosis surgical procedures includes:
Laminectomy - Called decompression, a small portion of the spinal bone that causes pressure against spinal nerve roots. Small portions of vertebral disc bone and intravertebral materials may also be removed to allow more space.
Decompression - Removal of a portion of the vertebral arch called the lamina. Other portions of the vertebrae, including the facet joints, may also offer more room for spinal nerve roots.
Spinal Fusion - Pieces of bone fragments (usually 1 to 2 inches in length) from the hipbone is placed along the spine where the laminectomy or decompression surgery is located. The new bone bridge then fuses with existing bone, with the aid of screws, rods or plates, to offer greater spine stability.
Clinical trials and knew surgical developments continue to offer more effective and less invasive surgical procedures in the treatment of spinal stenosis. For example, intraspinous process devices or spacers have been designed to act as bridges, widening the spaces between compressed vertebra. These bridges are generally placed between the spinous processes, or the bony knobs that you can feel along your back. Because of their proximity to the skin, these devices are easily placed in the spine through minimally invasive surgical interventions and procedures that also create less risk of damage or injury to the spinal column, cord and nerves.
How much does a Spinal Stenosis Surgical Procedure Cost?
The cost of spinal stenosis surgery it depends on the location of the surgery and what technique is utilized to repair the spine. Cost of a lumbar laminectomy may reach up to $85,000 in the United States, while travelers to India may enjoy savings of tens of thousands of dollars.
In the United States, cervical spinal fusion surgery costs an average of $30,000, and lumbar spinal fusion may cost up to $60,000. Such costs don't include hospital stays, imaging, or lab work. The cost of spinal fusion surgery in Mexico and Costa Rica costs approximately $45,000.
Who Performs Spinal Stenosis Surgeries?
An orthopedic surgeon may perform spinal fusion procedures, but may also be accompanied an assisted by neurosurgeons, according to an depending on need. Any type of spinal procedure or treatment should be overseen by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spinal care and spinal surgeries.
Orthopedic surgeons should be certified and experienced in all types of spinal surgeries, including cervical, thoracic and lumbar procedures and techniques, and belong to recognized organizations and associations. Consumers should always verify the experience and training of surgeons, facilities and support staff to ensure proper training and expertise, certification, and accreditation for any suggested procedures or techniques.
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Spine Care/Surgery -
The spine is the protective bony casing for the spinal cord, the nerve pathways that connect every part of the body with the brain. Spine health is essential for optimal health and fitness, but a multitude of injuries and disease processes can affect the spine.
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