Ever notice yourself leaning over the grocery cart when shopping to relieve your back pain? Do your legs become weak and “give out”? This is a common symptom of spinal stensosis. Patients suffering from spinal stenosis will often complain of back/leg pain that worsens when walking. Leaning forward will often lessen the pain, thereby opening up the spine and relieving pain. A new therapy in the treatment of lumbar stenosis is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small spacer between the bones in the back. It helps to open up the spine, relieving pain and pressure. It is a great alternative to invasive surgeries. Vertiflex prevents extension of the spine, while still allowing for flexion. In other words, it allows the spaces of the spine to open wide, while preventing compression. Compression of the spine is what results in pain.
What to Expect With a Vertiflex 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.
Time of the procedure varies with the number of spacers needed for implantation. It will generally take 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 generalized soreness afterwards. You will be discharged home a few hours after the procedure.
During The Procedure
You will be taken to a surgical area and given general anesthesia. 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. Your skin will be cleaned with a disinfectant, and the area is numbed for better comfort. The physician will make a small surgical incision in your back and implant the spacer between two spinous processes. Your incision is closed with sutures.
After The Procedure
You can expect generalized soreness over the next few days. For at least 6 weeks following your procedure, you should not bend, twist, or lift anything greater than 10 pounds. You should also limit any strenuous activity or exercise. Light walking is acceptable. You will receive complete instructions and expectations from your physician following the procedure, along with a follow up appointment.