Understanding the problem
Canal stenosis is a condition that affects the spinal column. The spinal cord is housed within a space called the spinal canal, which is bounded by the vertebrae of the spine. When the area around the spinal cord narrows, it is referred to as canal stenosis. It may also be called by one of the condition’s several alternative names, such as central stenosis, central spinal canal stenosis or just spinal stenosis.
Understanding who suffers
There are many spinal conditions that could lead to the development of canal stenosis, including the following:
- Osteoarthritis. This type of arthritis is typically acquired through the natural aging process and involves the degradation of cartilage within joints. Spinal osteoarthritis can cause the spine’s facet joints to become inflamed crowd spaces around the spinal cord and its nerve roots.
- Herniated discs and/or bulging discs. When a spinal disc bulges and/or herniates, disc tissue may enter the spinal canal, causing stenosis.
- Bone spurs. The body commonly produces bone spurs (enlargements on a bone’s natural structure) as a means to mitigate bone-on-bone friction. In the spine, this friction can happen in several ways. For instance, spinal discs can collapse due to age-related degeneration, allowing adjacent vertebrae to move closer together and rub against one another. This prompts the formation of bone spurs that may encroach upon the spinal canal. Additionally, the presence of osteoarthritis means that cartilage has eroded on the spine’s facet joints. Without a soft, smooth coating of cartilage, raw joint ends scrape against each other. This may stimulate the creation of bone spurs, which intrude upon the spinal canal.
Potential Signs and Symptoms
Patients only experience the symptoms of spinal canal stenosis when the nerves in the spine become compressed due to the narrowing of the canal. The symptoms of this condition can vary depending on its location:
- Cervical spinal canal stenosis - Patients with spinal stenosis in the cervical (neck) region of the spine typically experience weakness, numbness and pain in the head, neck, upper back, shoulders and arms. In extreme cases, spinal cord demyelination (damage to the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers in the spinal cord) can occur. In this case, symptoms may be profound, affecting balance and other vital functions.
- Thoracic spinal stenosis - This rare condition occurs in the middle of the back, also called the thoracic region. Pain may be felt in the back, ribs, internal organs or the abdomen.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis - Occurring in the lumbar (or lower back) region of the spine, this condition usually presents itself with pain in the lower back. Some patients also experience pain, numbness and weakness in the hips, buttocks, legs and feet.
Examinations Usually Required
These spinal conditions can be diagnosed through a variety of imaging techniques, including X-rays, MRI scans and CT scans.
Proposing Treatment and Why AIMIS
Following the diagnosis of a spinal stenosis, conservative non-surgical treatment will initially be proposed. If conservative treatment fails to provide relief, your physician might recommend surgery.
As stenosis is usually the result of years of wear and tear, conservative treatments often do not provide the permanent relief because the cause of the symptoms remains. Spinal canal stenosis surgery involves widening of the spinal canal, thereby removing the source of stenosis.
AIMIS is an expert in spine surgery and can provide minimally invasive procedures for spinal stenosis and can review and propose your type and course of treatment.
- Discectomy and minimally invasive fusion - If the underlying reason for the spinal stenosis is a herniated disc, then a discectomy might be able to alleviate symptoms by removing part of a degenerated disc, giving the spinal cord and nerve roots more space and eliminating the cause of impingement. If the entire disc has to be removed, to fill this gap and ensure spine stability, spinal fusion surgery can be performed in parallel.
- Laminotomy - If the spinal stenosis is because of a herniated disc, or bone spurs, more room for the spinal nerves is created to eliminate any pressure or pinching.
AIMIS provides various surgical options depending on an individual’s problem and include:
- Minimally Invasive Decompression Surgery,
- Minimally Invasive Stabilization Surgery,
- Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery,
- Total Disk Replacement (TDR),
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy & Fusion,
- Decompressor Discectomy,
- Lumbar Disc Microsurgery Treatment
Why minimally invasive spine surgery?
Minimally invasive spine surgery was developed to treat spine problems with less injury to the muscles and other normal structures in the spine. It also assists the surgeon to see where the problem exists in the spine. Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), does not involve a long incision as is open surgery which helps to avoid damage to the muscles surrounding the spine. In most cases, this results in less pain after surgery and a significant faster recovery.
Spine surgery is normally recommended once a period of nonsurgical treatment likely including medications and physical therapy has not provided pain relief caused by the back problem. Surgery is considered when the source of your pain and underlying cause can be identified and surgical procedure proposed. Minimally invasive techniques today are common and being used for a wide range of spine procedures.
Benefits of minimal invasive spine surgery include:
- Small incisions
- Less pain. Often less pain than open procedures because less of the natural anatomy is disrupted
- Shorter Hospital stay
- Quicker return to daily activities
- Lower infection and complication rate
- Less blood loss. Smaller incisions also mean less blood loss, which can ultimately improve outcomes.
Minimally invasive procedures take a surgery that could be a dramatic event and makes it have less of an impact!
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Reputable and Prestigious Surgeons
AIMIS' skilled team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and ancillary professionals has one of the leading experiences in the world for minimally invasive spine surgery. Our full team are consulted with each case to find the most suitable experienced doctor for the patient’s exact issue, to ensure the maximum potential outcome of treatment
Getting More Information Before Moving Forward
You may have questions like:
- Can I get more information before I commit to this?
- Can I get a second opinion from you before I commit to this?
- How can I find out the cost before I have any obligation?
What AIMIS Can do:
AIMIS will provide a full review, diagnosis and potential surgical options for your condition, after receiving the relevant examinations and information from you. They will also provide an estimate for your surgical procedure before you decide. AIMIS’s mission is to the provision of “true” healthcare for those who require it. It provides world leading surgeons using state of the art procedures to optimize potential surgical outcomes, whilst taking care of all arrangements so as to allow concentration on recovery.
AIMIS provide competitive prices for state of the art procedures. We also work with a large range of Insurance companies where your policy allows you to have surgery abroad.
Further information on the problem:
Canal stenosis is often labelled according to the part of the spine where the narrowing is taking place. These types are:
- Cervical canal stenosis - refers to narrowing that occurs within the top seven vertebrae which make up the cervical (upper) region of the spine
- Thoracic canal stenosis - refers to narrowing that occurs in the middle 12 vertebrae of the thoracic (middle) spine
- Lumbar canal stenosis - refers to narrowing that occurs in the bottom five vertebrae of the lumbar (lower) spine
A doctor can also classify canal stenosis according to the underlying cause. When a patient’s stenosis is caused by an inherited defect or when they are born with a naturally narrow spinal canal, their condition is classified as congenital canal stenosis.
If stenosis is caused by ordinary age-related degeneration that occurs normally over time, it’s referred to as degenerative canal stenosis. Degenerative stenosis occurs more frequently than congenital stenosis and is caused by conditions such as degenerative disc disease and spinal osteoarthritis.
Stenosis can also be labeled by the severity of the symptoms. Many people have mild stenosis and never experience any complications. But if there is enough narrowing to cause nerve compression of the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root, it’s classified as severe stenosis.
Further Information on Increased Risk Groups
Because spinal canal stenosis is a degenerative condition that often develops over time, there are certain precautions that can be taken to avoid or delay the onset of this condition. While sometimes spine conditions are unavoidable, some people may be able to reduce their risk by making a few lifestyle changes to promote spine health.
Maintaining overall good health habits may help reduce the risk of developing spinal canal stenosis. Some examples of healthy lifestyle changes include:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol and caffeine intake
- Keep good posture
Why AIMIS for this Surgery
AIMIS strives for excellence in delivering the best surgical outcomes, via the extensive expertise of its prestige surgeons, its technologies, its highly trained staff and superior facilities to provide an individualized and compassionate experience in a comfortable environment. All patients are treated with the individual care they deserve in an effort to provide the best chance of successful treatment.
Other Services Provided by AIMIS
In addition to its Innovative Healthcare, AIMIS provides seamless service along the way. From the start of your journey you'll know the best flights to take, where you'll be staying, what paperwork you will need. You will have a personal assistant assigned; from your pick up at the airport, to your accommodation, continuous assistance at your pre-consultation, through surgery and in your postsurgical care. Our Patients have said that they feel they have become "part of our family" and some even asked to stay a little longer! AIMIS is here to assist you in an all you requirements, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.