Spinal Stenosis Surgery
By Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT
Spinal stenosis is a condition that can be very uncomfortable and very worrying. Fortunately with advances in modern day surgery, Spinal Stenosis is easily treatable, and can require little rehabilitation time in the hospital.
Spinal Stenosis is caused by pressure on the nerves in the spine, usually from the bones, ligaments, or both. As the nerves are compressed by the reduced channels in which they run, sufferers may often feel pain and discomfort, generally in the legs, and back.
Spinal Stenosis is a relatively simple surgery called ‘nerve root decompression’, and involves removing the small part of bone, or ligament, which presses against the nerve in the spinal column. To do this the surgeon makes an incision approximately three inches long across the lower back. After this has been done, the surgeon will then remove any obstructions that could be pressing down on the nerve and causing the patient pain.
After surgery the patient will take some time to recover. This will usually mean up to ten days in hospital, and three months before they can partake in any kind of sporting activity. In most cases it is suggested that the patient not attempt any contact sport for at least six months to a year after surgery, since the spine will still be weak until it heals.
There are many ways to get back in to shape after surgery. Swimming is still an option, and is usually possible six weeks after the surgery, although a doctor’s permission is recommended as to whether or not any physical activity is an option.
While Spinal Stenosis Surgery is a safe surgery, there is still a slight risk of complication. The least likely scenario is that a problem caused by surgery will affect the heart or lungs. In some cases however (1 in 10,000) patients may suffer from incontinence of the bowel or bladder. One of the most common problems is with infection. This is in itself still rare, since most patients are put on antibiotics after surgery. If an infection still becomes apparent after Spinal Stenosis Surgery, the patient will need to remain in hospital until the infection is completely cleared. This will normally be accomplished with stronger, or more acute antibiotics.
If you have been diagnosed with Spinal Stenosis, then you will undoubtedly be preparing to undergo Spinal Stenosis Surgery. While the mental preparation tends to be difficult, what really matters is your physical preparation.
You should quit smoking, and try and lose a little weight if you are currently classed as overweight. You may want to also check out your hearts, lungs and your blood pressure, especially if you have any history of these in the family. Reducing these problems beforehand can prevent complications after Spinal Stenosis surgery.
On the day of the surgery, take any medications you are on, and any information that could be medically relevant. Don’t forget to have someone ready to talk to you after the surgery, and someone to take you home when you are ready to leave the hospital!
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