Lumbar canal stenosis is a disease caused by the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal, usually due to wear and tear or osteoarthritis of the vertebrae in the lower back.
The spinal canal is the conduit through which the nerves pass on their way from the spinal cord to the legs. In other words, a narrowing at this level causes compression and damage to the nerves of the lower extremities.
What symptoms does lumbar canal stenosis cause?
It is a very common degenerative disease that usually severely restricts the ability to walk and impairs quality of life.
Patients with lumbar canal stenosis typically present with back and/or buttock and leg pain that increases with activity and especially with walking.
In some cases, lumbar canal stenosis is accompanied by instability or excess spinal motion which means inability of the spine to support the weight of the body without pain or other symptoms in normal life circumstances.
Is there a treatment to alleviate lumbar canal stenosis?
Lumbar canal stenosis is, nowadays, the most frequent indication for spinal surgery because there is scientific evidence that shows that surgery is superior to other treatment alternatives.
There are various options within the surgical treatment. The classic option consists of removing the bone in the posterior part of the vertebrae and releasing the compression on the nerves. Nowadays, we have minimally invasive techniques that are the natural evolution of the classic procedures and that are based on removing only that part of bone or bone overgrowth that produces nerve compression, preserving the normal vertebral structures. In some cases, vertebral fusion or arthrodesis may be necessary, which consists of the permanent union of two or more vertebrae.
What is the surgical procedure for lumbar canal stenosis? Is it safe?
It is a surgery that spine surgeons perform quite frequently, being a fairly safe process, although like any surgery, it is not free of possible complications.
As for age, there is no limit that prevents the surgical procedure from being performed, so it is advisable to treat this condition by surgery, since the improvement in the patient’s quality of life is clear.