A Mild procedure is used to treat patients who are diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis and who have failed conservative treatment (NSAIDS, physical therapy, and injections). Spinal stensosis is commonly a result of ligamentum flavum hypertrophy. Ligamentum flavum is a short ligament that connects the laminae of the spine. With time, the ligamentum flavum can become scarred, inflamed, or fibrotic. As a result, the spinal canal becomes narrowed, causing severe pain. A Mild procedure helps patients who are having difficulty standing and walking, as a result of ligmentum flavum hypertrophy. The procedure provides pain relief and the ability to move around for longer periods of time. It is an outpatient procedure that requires no stitches, implants, or general anesthesia. It is an excellent alternative for patients who do not want to undergo an open spine surgery. Patients often opt for this procedure when epidural injections no longer provide relief.
What to Expect With a Mild Procedure
It is important to discuss any medications you are taking before your procedure. You will be asked to hold your anticoagulation therapy a certain number of days before the procedure to reduce your risk of bleeding. You may also be asked to stop other medications prior to and after the procedure. You will be instructed on when you can resume your medications.
The procedure usually takes less than two hours. You may experience numbness after your procedure. So, it is important that you have someone to drive you home. You can expect some discomfort at the time of procedure, and generalized soreness afterwards. You will be discharged home a few hours after the procedure. The architecture of the spine remains intact, allowing for very little downtime.
During The Procedure
You will be taken to a surgical area. Your procedure will be done with x-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) for accuracy. You will be asked to lie on your stomach on the exam table and remain still during the procedure. Your skin will be cleaned with a disinfectant, and the area is numbed for better comfort. The physician will use specialized sculpting tools to remove excess ligament and bone, widening the spinal cord to reduce nerve root compression. This is done through a small incision in your back. By removing the inflamed or fibrotic ligament, the spine is then able to be restored for mobility. You can expect mild to moderate pressure during the procedure.
After The Procedure
You will return home after the procedure. You will be able to resume light activities a few days after the procedure. You will receive complete instructions and expectations from your physician following the procedure, along with a follow up appointment.