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New procedure could help those with Lumbar Stenosis
For patients with Lumbar Stenosis the back and leg pain can be unbearable. And surgery is needed in many cases, but comes with the risk of major complications. Now, a less invasive procedure could change lives.
It's much easier and a whole lot less painful for Paul Colando to walk these days. Up until a few months ago, his lower back was shot.
"From constant lifting and turning,” said Colando.
Paul had what some 3 million Americans suffer from: Lumbar Stenosis.
"So basically that's kind of narrowing around the nerves in the lower back. So typical symptoms of that are trouble walking, trouble back pain, numbness down the legs. It's often kind of in the middle where you get some narrowing around where the nerves come down through the lower back and also where the nerves come out on the sides,” said Neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Kanaly.
Paul was in and out of work. He underwent physical therapy. He took pain medications, had regular cortisone injections.
"It would last for four or five months sometimes less and I'd be back in p.t. starting all over,” said Colando.
Until he came to see Dr. Charles Kanaly and learned about a new less invasive fix for his problem.
"Standard techniques you'd make an incision in the middle, go down and then you have to remove a lot of this normal bone and all these joints around the side in order to open up the nerves,” Kanaly said.
This new less invasive procedure features a smaller incision and a flexible device.
"And we find a little corridor here, opening between those bones that basically are naturally there and we go down in that area and we're able to use a little probe which is basically like this one here and we slide it down through the hole and track down along the nerve,” said Kanaly.
Using the flexible shaver device, Dr. Kanaly opens up that area. He shows Paul the before and after on a scan.
"We were able to slide that little shaver device through that hole that's really tight and this was basically how much space you had in the hole, it was very narrow, after we shaved that open we were able to get this much opening here, much more space for this nerve to come out,” said Kanaly.
The first week after surgery was difficult.
"But every week after that it got better and better,” said Colando.
And now Paul's doing something he hasn't been able to do in years.
"I'm walking 18 holes now playing golf."
Lumbar spinal stenosis is typically caused by degenerative arthritis. Patients can develop back pain as well as pain, weakness and numbness or decreased sensation in the legs.
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