Your spine's health can determine much of your life, including how well you can work and engage in other activities. When you experience pain and discomfort around your spine, it may indicate a growing medical problem. You need to consult your doctor as soon as possible to help you identify the condition and recommend a treatment option.
Among the many remedies for spinal conditions is the placement of interspinous spacers to help decompress your nerves. Due to the delicate nature of any operations around the spine, you need to work with a skilled doctor who understands the importance of providing high-quality healthcare to their patients.
At Dr. Rappard's Practice, you can expect to receive quality services during your interspinous spacer treatment thanks to our experience undertaking the procedure. Our team is skilled and well-equipped to handle your case adequately, taking care to ensure your health and safety remain a priority throughout.
Thanks to our advanced neurointerventional surgery technology that allows minimally invasive procedures, you can also look forward to a quick recovery after your surgery. If you or a loved one requires interspinous spacer treatment in Los Angeles, California, you can consult with us to begin your recovery process.
How Interspinous Spacers Work
Patients who notice unusual pain and discomfort along their spines may be experiencing the symptoms of spinal stenosis, a condition that causes nerve compression along the spine. Spinal stenosis is also associated with narrow spine passageways, limiting nerve passage without causing discomfort.
Depending on your lifestyle, the condition may be caused by genetic or external factors. For example, if your work requires you to apply a lot of force to your spine when carrying loads or playing high-impact sports, you are more likely to develop spinal stenosis. Alternatively, your genetic predisposition may make it more likely for you to develop the condition as well.
Interspinous spacers, therefore, serve as a medical solution to prevent the continuous compression of nerves in the spine. Your doctor will place them along your spinous processes, the vertebrae discs visible along your back when you stretch backward.
Through surgery, your doctor accesses the spinous processes and places interspinous spacers between them to relieve nerve compression. While some patients require the interspinous spacer along a significant spine length, many surgeries involve placing the spacer only on a small affected region. This is especially true when your doctor discovers your condition early enough, meaning nerve compression has not traveled to other spinal parts.
Once the interspinous spacer is secure, it should open up your vertebral passageways and relieve any symptoms you have had over time because your nerves are now free from the pressure. The treatment is often effective, and patients report a drastic improvement in their well-being after the process.
Patients Who Qualify for Interspinous Spacer Treatment
Since interspinous spacers work as a remedy for spinal stenosis, you need to establish whether you live with the condition. Before visiting your doctor for a proper diagnosis, you may notice a few symptoms commonly associated with the condition. If so, you want to record them for future discussions with your doctor, as any information you provide is useful for curating effective treatment. Common symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
Recurrent Leg Pains
Although spinal stenosis affects nerves in your spine, you may notice leg pain from nerve compression. The pains may be dull at first, only occurring at intervals. Due to the slow onset of pain, you may attribute it to other causes, like injuries when walking or fatigue. Over time, many patients will report growing and recurrent leg pain that reduces their mobility.
The primary cause of your discomfort is the nerve compression that affects the nerves that serve your legs, causing pain signals to register more frequently. Upon noticing the symptoms, you must schedule an appointment as soon as possible to ensure you receive an early diagnosis.
Cramping Along Your Back and Waist Muscles
Another common pain indicator is cramping along your back and waist, causing sudden and pinching pain. The cramps are a symptom of the compressed nerves, and you may experience them when the spinal discs impact the nerve fibers that send pain signals to your brain.
Cramping may also advance to your legs and any other body part because the spine holds all the primary nerves serving your body. Although pain medication may help, you will need a permanent solution by consulting your doctor for an interspinous spacer treatment plan.
Reduced Ability to Stand or Walk for Long
The pain buildup often reduces a patient's mobility, making it more difficult to stand or walk for long periods. You may notice reduced endurance over time, especially if your symptoms are occasional.
On the other hand, some patients experience a drastic change in endurance because of extremely painful nerve compression. This should be a sign to seek urgent medical treatment to allow your doctor to administer the required treatment.
When your nerves die because of continuous compression, you begin experiencing numbness. The symptom is often a sign of delayed treatment, indicating the extent of damage to the nerve fibers. Body numbness often affects your limbs and back because they are closer to the spine, meaning the nerves serving these regions are more numerous.
In extreme cases, patients may notice early signs of paralysis, especially if they delay treatment. Contacting your doctor when you notice an unusual sensation in your limbs or other body parts is important, as it can save you from irreversible health conditions.
The Preparation Process for Interspinous Spacer Treatment
Like any other medical procedure, your doctor will guide you through the pre-treatment process. Engaging in all the preparation procedures is important because it paves the way for a smooth surgical process and a faster recovery.
Your preparation process may differ from that of another patient because every person presents varying degrees of spinal stenosis. As a result, following your doctor's directives is necessary. Some critical pre-treatment processes include:
Undergoing a Physical Examination
During your first medical consultation, your doctor conducts a physical examination. It involves checking your physical spine alignment, as it may provide insight into the cause of your medical condition.
You can also expect your doctor to gently press along your spine as they try to identify the most painful region in preparation for treatment. If you experience any pain or discomfort during the examination, inform your doctor immediately to avoid increasing your pain symptoms before treatment.
Your doctor may also need X-Ray imaging to understand how your spinous processes align and the extent to which your spinal discs have compressed the nerves. Since X-Ray imaging is a quick process, you can also complete it in your first consultation, shortening your treatment period.
You can have the images taken at the clinic if your doctor has the imaging devices or works with a third party to produce them. Additional images like CT scans may also be necessary in severe cases where the nerve compression has caused medical complications in other body regions.
Sharing Your Medical History
Although interspinous spacer surgery is minimally invasive, your doctor must obtain your medical history as a formal procedure. Your details can be pivotal in your treatment because they reveal your allergens, genetics, and previous medical conditions.
For example, if you have previously sustained injuries from a car accident, your doctor can draw inferences from your history to make the current diagnosis. Through this, they can then provide the most effective treatment.
Further, indicating your allergens is critical before surgery because it guides the medical team on the equipment and medication to use. If you are allergic to the scheduled anesthetic medication, your doctor can quickly make changes to protect you from adverse reactions.
Details about your family's genetics and past medical conditions are also relevant in the consultation meeting because they help your doctor establish the most likely cause for your condition.
They are also better positioned to determine whether interspinous spacer treatment is the best, increasing your chances of full recovery. You, therefore, want to provide as much information as possible during your appointment to secure a successful treatment process.
The Surgical Process
Your interspinous spacer surgery will be a minimally invasive and short procedure to help your doctor place the spacer and secure it for nerve decompression. It begins with a small incision on the identified area along your spine where a spacer is needed. The incision should be at the center of your back, along the spine, as it is the focal area.
After the incision, your doctor will insert a ten-millimeter tube inside another to access your spinal processes. The tubes hold the spinal processes and your vertebrae apart, creating space for the interspinous spacers.
The doctor then inserts the spacers through the tube, holding the vertebrae and spinous spacers apart to secure nerve decompression. They use a delivery tool that twists the interspinous spacer lobes to open them up. The procedure is complete after the spacer is firmly open, and your doctor will close your incisions.
Benefits of Interspinous Spacer Treatment
When you report spinal pain and discomfort to your doctor, they may consider several options before recommending surgery. Non-surgical options like pain medication, low-impact stretching, and posture changes can be effective but often do not guarantee full recovery.
Interspinous spacer surgery is the last resort, but it provides many benefits. For example, you are better at effectively recovering your spinal stenosis condition, making it easier to return to your everyday life.
Additionally, since the surgery is minimally invasive, you can look forward to a less painful and faster recovery. You do not have to worry about possible infections from open wounds or improper recovery; you will only have a small suture scar to nurse.
Same-day treatment and release from the clinic are also advantageous, as you can return home and relax as your body begins the recovery process. When working with an experienced doctor, the entire process will only last a few hours, giving you more time to be with your loved ones.
You can also look forward to a lasting solution for your spinal pain, especially if you have lived with spinal stenosis symptoms for a long time. With effective surgery, you do not have to worry about facing the same problems in the future, provided you follow your doctor's directives.
Your Recovery Plan After Surgery
After treatment, you must incorporate an aftercare plan to help you fully recover. The plan is also important to protect you from post-surgical complications and from hurting your spine and nerves before fully recovering.
Important aftercare instructions to observe include:
- Take all your medication following your doctor's directives.
- Rest adequately for the first few weeks after surgery.
- Avoid involvement in high-impact and strenuous activities like lifting weights for a few months.
- Attend all follow-up doctor's appointments to track your recovery.
If you follow all these directives, you are in a better position to enjoy full recovery after your interspinous spacer treatment. Your doctor will also recommend alternative lifestyle changes to prevent the condition from recurring.
Contact a Neurointerventional Surgeon Near Me
Navigating life with spinal problems can be challenging because it limits your mobility. As a result, you may miss out on work and leisure opportunities because of the pain and discomfort you experience due to spinal stenosis. By seeking interspinous spacer treatment, you can eradicate the condition and make your recovery towards an improved lifestyle for yourself and your loved ones.
Although you may need treatment as soon as possible, you must take your time and find a reliable and trusted neurointerventional surgeon to perform the interspinous spacer placement surgery. Your surgeon should be skilled and well-equipped to complete the procedure with minimal complication possibilities.
At Dr. Rappard's Practice, we aim to provide excellent medical services to treat spinal stenosis for your overall recovery and well-being. Our team understands the importance of handling the surgical process carefully, as it affects the most delicate yet important parts of your body.
You can trust us to do an excellent job and provide aftercare tips after your surgical treatment to help you fully recover. Our goal is to help our patients seeking treatment in Los Angeles, California, return to their everyday lives before the onset of spinal stenosis, giving them a chance to lead their lives worry-free. For more information on interspinous spacer treatment, call us today at 424-777-7463.