Lumbar spinal stenosis is a common cause of back pain and decreased walking tolerance. The lumbar spine is generally composed of a column of 5 vertebrae. There is a cartilaginous disc between each of the vertebrae. With aging and wear and tear from daily activities, our spinal canal can narrow and pinch the nerves in our lower back to cause lumbar spinal stenosis. Neurogenic claudication is back and leg pain in a patient with spinal stenosis on standing and walking which is alleviated on resting. At Texas Pain Intervention Clinic, we offer innovative procedures such as the Vertiflex Superion (Boston Scientific) for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis with neurogenic claudication. The Vertiflex procedure uses a small implant that is placed between the vertebrae of the affected level to help improve symptoms of stenosis. This provides relief by lifting pressure off the nerves to alleviate leg and back pain symptoms that accompany this condition.
What is Vertiflex Superion?
The Vertiflex Superion procedure is an innovative and minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. This FDA-approved, outpatient treatment aims to give those with lumbar spinal stenosis the freedom to get on with their daily lives.
The Vertiflex is a minimally invasive stand-alone interspinous process decompression procedure. This involves implanting a device (or spacer), between the spinous processes, which are the thin, bony projections on the back of the spine. Vertiflex provides patients with a clinically proven, minimally invasive solution that is designed to deliver long-term relief from the leg and back pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis.
How does it work?
The Vertiflex Superion procedure is a simple, out-patient procedure handled in our surgical center. The procedure takes about thirty minutes for the implant and is generally performed under monitored anesthesia care. For the Vertiflex procedure, a patient is positioned face down on their stomach to allow access to the back. With the use of real-time imaging, we make one small incision in your lower back less than 1 inch in size and implant the spacer between two spinous processes (e.g., L4-L5). This procedure can be done at up to two levels at the same time depending on the clinical situation. The surgical incision is then closed. Placement of this device involves no tissue or bone damage and minimal blood loss.
What are the advantages?
When the alternative is major surgery, Vertiflex Superion provides all the benefits of laminectomy surgery without the risks. However, in some situations, surgery remains the better alternative. The other advantage of this procedure is the short recovery time of just a few weeks, compared to months needed for recovery from major back surgery. During a consultation with us, all pros and cons will be discussed.
Vertiflex provides fast relief of pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis. Many patients report relief in as little as one week after their procedure. Relief generally improves over time. In fact, this procedure has the potential to provide lifetime pain relief in the affected area of the back for many patients.
Some additional benefits that have been shown by research studies include:
- 90% of patients were satisfied after 5 years
- An 85% decrease in patients using opioids
Spinal stenosis will not improve on its own. Over time, it is likely to get worse and limit everyday activities and affect quality of life. The first step towards treatment is an accurate diagnosis. At Texas Pain Intervention Clinic, we specialize in interventional pain and work with our patients to address health conditions that affect the bones, discs and nerves of the back. With our accurate medical diagnosis, we can evaluate if you are a good candidate for the Vertiflex procedure.