Canal Stenosis – Is Surgery The Best Treatment Option

Surgery for canal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal) in the neck is an advanced form of treatment. This form of treatment can alleviate pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root. Canal stenosis, which often results from age-related spinal degeneration, does not always cause discomfort or require treatment. However, if it involves nerve compression, it can be very painful and disruptive. 

The spinal canal is a hollow tunnel that houses and protects the spinal cord and a series of sensitive nerve roots. If this already limited space becomes further encroached by a herniated disc, inflamed facet joint, thickened ligament, or bone spur – all of which are common byproducts of spinal degeneration – the spinal nerves can become overcrowded and painful pressure can result. 

When Should You Consider Surgery For Canal Stenosis

For many people, conservative treatment such as medications and physical therapy proves to be effective enough to eliminate the need for canal stenosis surgery, which is typically viewed as a last resort. In general, surgery may be appropriate for a patient who has two key characteristics/ first the canal stenosis symptoms have progressed to the point that they are interfering with the patient’s daily life. Second, several weeks or months of nonsurgical therapy have not produced meaningful relief. At that point, the patient and their physician may decide that surgery is the best option. 

Types of Spinal Narrowing Surgery

To relieve pressure on a spinal nerve in the neck, several types of canal stenosis surgery may be considered. For instance, depending on a patient’s specific needs, a surgeon might recommend:

  • Discectomy. A surgeon removes part or all of a bulging or herniated disc that is compressing the spinal cord or nerve root
  • Fusion. A surgeon removes a damaged disc and replaces it with a bone graft. This is so the surrounding vertebrae will grow into a solid piece of bone to support. Which will stabilize that spinal segment. 
  • Laminotomy. A surgeon removes a portion of a spinal bone (lamina) to increase the space available for a crowded spinal nerve or spinal cord. 

Before you decide to proceed with any type of canal stenosis surgery, you should research all of your options. This may include both traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive outpatient surgery. After you become educated about the various approaches that might be appropriate for you, you will be better positioned to make informed decisions. 

BEST Health System Can Help

At BEST Health System, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery. This serves as an alternative to traditional open spine surgery for canal stenosis treatment. Unlike traditional surgery, we perform our procedures on an outpatient basis using muscle-sparing techniques. By taking this approach, we help our patients avoid the lengthy rehabilitation period that often follows open spine surgery. 

Contact BEST Health System today! We can help determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive canal stenosis surgery.