Director, UPMC Minimally Invasive Spine Program
Stenosis can occur from a variety of pathologies that compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots that travel down from the spinal cord. This can occur from hypertrophy, or overgrowth of the ligaments that sit behind the spinal nerves, or it can occur from disc herniations which sit in front of the spinal nerves. And, either way these narrow down the canal where the nerve roots are trying to travel to get down to the legs.
There are a variety of ways to treat stenosis and it depends on again what that stenosis is caused from, but there is also a variety of minimally invasive treatments for stenosis and disc herniations. This can be done using tubes, small dilators in which each one is placed one over the next until the tissues are expanded so there is no cutting of the tissues. There is no cautery to these tissues either, so there is very, very little destruction to these natural structures on our way to get to the spine. Once we are down to the bone we then shave off a portion of that bone that enables us to get into the canal, and then we can remove whatever the pathology is that’s compressing the nerve roots. If it’s the disc herniation itself, we can remove that disc material. If it’s the ligament from behind, we can remove that portion of the tissue to enable to decompress the spinal nerves.
After a minimally invasive treatment for stenosis, patients often go home very, very quickly. There is very little to recover from because there is very little destruction to the surrounding tissues and the incision itself is oftentimes less than an inch. Patients really can get up and around very, very quickly after surgery and go home that same day.
There are numerous advantages in coming to UPMC for the treatment of stenosis or disc herniation as we can treat it in a minimally invasive fashion, get patients back to work quickly, get them back to life and do so with tremendous experience and knowhow. And we’ve actually created many of the instruments and the tools to perform the procedure itself, so you know that when you are coming to UPMC, you are going to have the least invasive procedure possible.
For more information, contact us at 412-647-3685 or visit the Neurosurgical Spine Services Division at the University of Pittsburgh.
Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery for Stenosis
Dr. Adam S. Kanter explains how stenosis can be treated minimally invasively.