Conditions

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the canal that holds the spinal cord and nerves becomes too narrow. This compresses your spinal cord and/or spinal nerves, which can result in a variety of symptoms, starting with back pain. Patients may also experience leg cramping, numbness, tingling, and weakness because the spinal nerves are being compressed.  When the spinal cord is compressed, you can experience any of the before mentioned symptoms and also bowel or bladder dysfunction, imbalance and difficulty with fine motor movements or dexterity of your hands.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is a condition that is most commonly seen in older individuals and is usually caused by osteoarthritis. There are a number of other potential causes, including:

  • Bulging or herniated discs—Bulging, protruding, or herniated, discs are most typically the result of wear and tear from aging, trauma, or injury. Most bulging and herniated discs improve without the need for surgery, and are commonly treated with a combination of rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Shifting vertebrae—A condition called spondylolisthesis occurs when one of the vertebrae slips out of place.
  • Bone spurs—When bone spurs grow into the spinal canal, they can make the space narrower and also put pressure on the spinal nerves.
  • Enlarged facet joints—The joints between the vertebrae can degenerate. When that happens, the cartilage inside the facet joint can become inflamed and create discomfort
  • Inflammation of the spinal canal ligament—This can constrict the area and cause pain.

The Importance of a Proper Diagnosis

As with any other ailment, getting a proper diagnosis is critical. When back pain hits, it’s not enough to Google your symptoms and diagnose yourself. Spinal stenosis does have some symptoms in common with other spinal conditions, but each has its own treatment protocol. Delaying treatment for spinal stenosis can also cause chronic pain and permanent weakness or numbness, so seeking treatment right away is important.

During your first appointment at DISC Spine Institute, our friendly staff will collect your registration forms and any other pertinent information. At this time, you’ll also have an opportunity to discuss your pain and any other symptoms you may be experiencing. Our trusted surgeons will also study your entire medical history as well as your MRI, if you have already had one. Previous medical conditions you may have had can help them better understand your condition and pinpoint the exact source of your pain. They will also determine if additional tests, including x-rays or MRIs, are needed. Typically, our doctors will order special spine x-rays called flexion and extension views to check the stability of your spine.

After all of these steps have been completed, we’ll have enough information to completely diagnose your condition and begin to develop a treatment plan to end your pain and get you back to your life.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

Based on your specific diagnosis, Dr. Mark Valente and Dr. Andy Indresano will provide the best course of action to move forward. Surgery is only used as a last resort for any condition, including spinal stenosis. DISC Spine Institute prides itself on making every attempt to heal your pain using more conservative, non-surgical treatments first. These treatments range from medication, to chiropractic care, to physical therapy or injections.

If these methods don’t provide sufficient pain relief and healing, or if surgery is the most feasible option for you, we will proceed with the most minimally invasive surgical treatment possible. Our surgeons are leaders in this field and are among a small group of surgeons around the world who are specially trained to perform these cutting-edge procedures.

Types of minimally invasive surgery to treat spinal stenosis:

Minimally invasive laminectomy—The most common surgical procedure to treat spinal stenosis, this non-fusion surgery creates more space in the spinal canal and takes pressure off of the nerves by removing the lamina, which is part of the vertebral arch. Dr. Valente and Dr. Indresano perform this procedure endoscopically, through an incision less than an inch long, with no sutures to remove after and requiring just a BAND-AID. Because minimally invasive laminectomy is generally an outpatient procedure, you can expect to go home the same day.

Spinal fusion—Spinal fusion procedures are sometimes performed in conjunction with a laminectomy to fuse the vertebrae with bone graft or other materials, which is intended to strengthen the spine and make it more stable. When performed as a minimally invasive procedure, spinal fusion at the DISC Spine Institute can be an outpatient procedure, with an incision one-inch-long and no stitches to remove afterwards.

Minimally invasive foraminotomy—This procedure uses specialized instruments to expand the space where the nerves leave the spinal canal and are being compressed. Foraminotomy is performed by removing a small piece of bone and soft tissue through a small incision less than an inch long. This is an outpatient procedure and is sutureless.

The Road to Recovery

The period after spinal surgery is just as important to the overall health and wellness of the patient as the surgery itself, and the doctors and staff at the DISC Spine Institute commit themselves to guiding patients through the entire process, from the first diagnosis to the moment you realize you are healed. We provide continued recovery support with any necessary pain medications, muscle relaxants, bracing for support, metabolic supplements for maximal healing of bones/nerves/soft tissue, topical scar healing medications, and physical therapy when indicated. Our staff of experienced medical assistants and physician assistants along with Dr. Valente and Dr. Indresano provide an enhanced level of support to help guide you through the recovery phase.

Everything we do at the DISC Spine Institute is done with one goal in mind: To get you back to enjoying a life you deserve as fast as possible.

Meet some of the Most Trusted Spine Doctors in North Texas

Fast Facts about Dr. Valente

  • Board Certified Orthopedic Spine Surgeon
  • Nationwide, ranked Number 3 among all orthopedic surgeons sitting for oral board examination (AOBOS)
  • Has been appointed to Clinical Instructor positions at both Michigan State University and the University of California
  • Has lectured and published extensively
  • Participated in numerous research protocols
Dr. Mark Valente

Fast Facts about Dr. Indresano

  • Board Certified and fellowship trained orthopedic spine surgeon
  • Graduated top of his class at University of California, San Diego
  • Received Fellow Research award for spine research at University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Extensively published in leading, peer-reviewed medical journals
  • Served as Academic Chief of residency program during his time in San Diego
Dr Andy Indresano

An Easier End to Spinal Stenosis

Our goal at the DISC Spine Institute is to permanently remove your pain as quickly as possible while using the least invasive treatment option available.

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