The narrowing of the spinal canal that is referred to as spinal stenosis can affect either the cervical or lumbar areas of the spine. This condition is typically most prevalent in patients 50 years of age or older, and lumbar spinal stenosis is an extremely common reason for lower back surgery in those who are more than 65 years old.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is in fact the most common reason for lower back surgery in U.S. patients over the age of 65.
A recent research study, with the intent of weighing the efficacy of operations to correct this condition against that of conservative back pain treatments, was conducted and documented in the medical journal.
The news source reports that intensive treatment was more effective in treating lumbar stenosis plaguing patients on a chronic basis. Whether accomplished through the introduction of a spinal implant into the affected area of the spine or in the form of surgical methods - including fusion back surgery and alternatives to fusion - aggressive treatments had better results when the condition did not respond to other techniques.
In order to come to this conclusion, researchers reviewed 739 citations from a number of previous studies covering similar subject matter. Eventually, they included data culled from 11 medical publications, addressing the cases of 918 patients for whom conservative back pain treatment methods had failed for three to six months.
Decompression surgeries - with or without fusion techniques - and implanted medical device brought greater improvements to patients' well-being than other methods. Pain, disability and overall quality of life were significantly reduced by lower back surgery. Only walking ability was better served by conservative treatments.
Spondylolisthesis, another spinal condition sometimes tangential to lumbar and cervical stenosis, had no bearing on treatment results in this instance - results were similar for those with and without it.
Individuals receiving lower back surgery benefited more from it than from conservative methods if the procedure took place between three months and two to four years after serious symptoms began. After that time, its advantage diminished slightly.
Patients with lumbar spinal stenosis can inquire about the possibilities of lower back surgery techniques if conservative treatments have failed for a considerable period of time. Endoscopic or laser spine surgery procedures are often performed as outpatient procedures, without general anesthesia. Since both methods involve minimal incisions, recovery can be as brief as two weeks.
To speak with a spine specialist, call us today at 877-722-6008.