Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

The lumbar region of the spine, often referred to simple as the “lower back”, is made up of five vertebrae in the lower part of the spine, located roughly behind the abdomen from the ribs to the pelvis. Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is caused by changes in the shape and size of the spinal canal over time. The spinal canal becomes progressively more narrow, which results in compression of the nerves traveling through the lower back and down into the legs. This natural degenerative process can cause anatomical changes at any time, but is most common in people over 50 years and may continue to progress with age.

Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

The common symptoms of LSS are:

  • Leg, buttock, and groin pain
  • Numbness, weakness, cramping, or stiffness in the legs, or buttocks
  • Cramping in the calves with walking, requiring frequent short rests to walk a distance
  • Pain radiating into one or both thighs and legs, similar to the lay term “sciatica”
  • Pain may improve with bending forward, sitting or lying down
  • Difficulty walking or standing but experience relief in the seated or flexed position

LSS Diagnosis

To diagnose spinal stenosis, your doctor may ask you about signs and symptoms, discuss your medical history, and conduct a physical examination. He or she may order several imaging tests to help pinpoint the cause of your signs and symptoms.

These tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • CT or CT myelogram

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Treatment Options

In the past, one of the most common treatments for this condition was a spinal fusion surgery. Spinal fusion surgery procedures can vary but basically they all revolve around the specific vertebra that is the origin of pain in a patient being surgically linked to adjoining vertebrae with metal hardware and a bone graft to maintain the spine’s strength and stability. The goals of surgery include relieving the pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots by creating more space within the spinal canal, but it is a very complicated and invasive procedure, with high risks that sometimes fail to even provide any significant improvement in a patients pain and mobility. There are other surgical risks as well, such as infection, a tear in the membrane that covers the spinal cord, a blood clot in a leg vein and/or neurological deterioration.

The mild® Procedure

The mild® Procedure is an alternative treatment option to the more invasive and risky spinal fusion solution. mild® is a safe procedure that can help patients diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) stand longer and walk farther with less pain.

It is a short, outpatient procedure, performed through a very small incision (about the size of a baby aspirin) that requires no general anesthesia, no implants, and no stitches. Study data show that 79% of patients experience a significant reduction in pain and significant increase in mobility. In addition, the mild® procedure has been proven to have a very low risk of major complications.

How mild® Works

The mild® procedure has been performed safely on thousands of patients. A doctor who is certified to perform mild® will use an imaging machine and specialized tools to remove small pieces of bone and excess ligament tissue through a tiny incision in your back. Removing these elements restores space in the spinal canal and decreases the compression of the nerves, which reduces pain and restores mobility. Some doctors have described the goal of the procedure as being similar to “removing a kink in a drinking straw.”

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis After the mild ProcedurePre-Op Spinal Stenosis Vertebra

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis After the mild ProcedurePost-Op Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Vertebra with the mild procedure

What You Can Expect With mild®?

  • Outpatient procedure, typically performed in less than 1 hour
  • Able to resume light activities within just days
  • Requires:
    • No general anesthesia
    • No implants
    • No stitches

After the mild® Procedure

After the mild® procedure, most patients are able to return home the same day and are generally able to resume light tasks and everyday activities within just a few days. Your doctor will provide complete instructions on what to do immediately following the procedure and schedule any necessary follow-up visits or suggested rehabilitation.

Some patients that are candidates for open surgical decompression may not be candidates for the mild® procedure due to the severity of their condition. Talk to your doctor about what treatment option is best for you. Since mild® does not change the structural stability of the spine, open surgery can be performed after mild® if necessary.