Neurosurgery, Spine Surgery

January 20, 2015

If You Have Persistent Lower Back Pain from Spinal Stenosis, It May Be Time for Surgery


The surgeons at Arkansas Surgical Hospital have extensive experience in helping patients alleviate persistent lower back pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis. For patients who are ready, a lumbar laminectomy is the best solution.

If you have been living with the chronic lower back pain that results from lumbar spinal stenosis, the time has come to consider undergoing surgery. The neurosurgeons at Arkansas Surgical Hospital may recommend a lumbar laminectomy in order to decompress the spinal nerves causing your pain, because as you age, your condition will only worsen. When the persistent pain becomes too much to handle, surgery will bring you some relief and allow you to return to your life.

Signs That You Need Surgery
The neurosurgeons at Arkansas Surgical Hospital recommend surgical intervention to treat lumbar spinal stenosis when:

  • You have significant pain, weakness, or numbness radiating in your back, legs or feet.
  • Your leg pain is worse than your back pain.
  • Your condition has not improved with consistent physical therapy or medication.
  • You have difficulty walking or standing which is affecting the quality of your life.
  • You have undergone diagnostic testing—such as a CT scan, myelogram, or MRI—that shows you have lateral recess or stenosis in the central canal.

What Is a Lumbar Laminectomy?
As one of the most common back surgeries performed in the United States, a lumbar laminectomy is a procedure in which the surgeon removes the rear portion of one or more vertebrae. Ligaments and bone spurs that are pressing on your spinal nerves may also be simultaneously removed. This procedure will provide the compressed nerve root with more space and an environment for better healing.

What to Expect From a Lumbar Laminectomy
Most lumbar laminectomies are performed with general anesthesia and mechanical ventilation. During the procedure, you will be in a face down position in order to provide the surgeon with access to your back. An incision will be made in the affected area, and the surgeon will approach the spine then remove the lamina bone and trim facet joints that are compressing your spinal nerves. Following surgery, most patients will go home after an overnight stay.

Potential Benefits and Complications of Surgical Intervention
The goal of a lumbar laminectomy is to alleviate leg and lower back pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis. You are an ideal candidate for surgical intervention if your life has been so negatively impacted by pain that you are no longer able to perform your normal daily activities without extreme discomfort. For those who elect to have surgery, 70% to 80% will have a significant improvement in their daily function and level of pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

However, like all surgical procedures, there are potential rare complications such as nerve root damage, bowel or bladder incontinence, cerebrospinal fluid leak, infections, bleeding, and postoperative instability of the spine. This is why having an experienced surgeon operate in a hospital renowned for its patient satisfaction and low infection rate is vitally important.

Arkansas Surgical Hospital has a leading spinal medicine program that is fully equipped to perform lumbar laminectomies in the safest manner possible. Contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital today to discuss the possible benefits of a lumbar laminectomy for you or call (877) 918-7020 to schedule your individual consultation.

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