Interspinous Process Spacers
The spinous processes are located in the very back of the spinal column near the skin surface. They are palpable on your own body. You can feel them by taking your hand to the centre of your back. Throughout its course you can feel sharp prominences in the midline that are the spinous processes.
The near proximity of the spinous processes to the skin allows for the implantation of interspinous process spacers. This procedure can be done with minimal operative intervention and spinal morbidity. Which means, there are no or negligible aftereffects of the surgery.
The interspinous process devices are designed to distract or open the foramen. Specifically, where the nerve endings pass away from the centre of the spinal region and into the legs. It is thought that these devices may also unload the intervertebral disc. They may limit spinal extension i.e. the position the spine takes on when bending backward. This backward bending position may be painful for patients with spinal stenosis. This is because it reduces the space available for the nerve roots in the exiting foraminal openings.
The interspinous devices may be implanted with the patient under a mild sedative and local anaesthesia. Hence this method can be done as a day surgery procedure. Which means that the patient goes home the same day or under light anaesthesia. This may be beneficial for elderly patients. This is because more extensive open surgery may present too great of a surgical risk due to less favourable general health and fitness level among the elderly.
Interspinous process spacers have however lost their initial popularity amongst many spine surgeons as they have been found to have a high revision rate. Instead of directly addressing the pathology behind the spinal stenosis causing either the radiculopathy or neurogenic claudication (leg pain) that the patient is experiencing, the interspinous process spacers indirectly decompress the canal. Certain patients who do not get great relief from this procedure will end needing a traditional, open procedure. However, in others, the device migrates as it is not usually secured into place. It is merely fit depending on the manufacturer.
For more questions, contact our offices located in Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville marketplaces.