Lumbar spinal stenosis is a compression of the nerves in the lower spine. It typically causes the patient a lot of pain in the legs when walking, which is generally relieved only upon sitting down or leaning forward. This often results in the patient needing a cane or walker, and greatly reduces a patient’s activity level and quality of life. For those with lumbar spinal stenosis, there are pain management and surgical options available, such as physical therapy, steroid injections, pain medications, and decompression, as well as several surgical options. In this blog we’ll discuss an option called Vertiflex. We’re going to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of this pain relief method, and examine how to know if you’re a good candidate for it.
What is Vertiflex?
Vertiflex is a minimally invasive, indirect decompression device. The small metal implant works as a spacer, and has two projections along both the upper part and lower part. These securely attach to the sides of the vertebrae on the part of the spine that faces outward (the spinous processes), effectively pushing the two vertebrae away from each other and decompressing the spine. There is no damage to the bones or any nearby tissues, which sets this approach apart from many other more invasive surgical options.
Vertiflex effectively recreates the spacing that normally would have existed between the two vertebrae. This takes pressure off the nerves in the spine and will decrease or even eliminate back and leg pain caused by the lumbar spinal stenosis. In clinical trials relief lasts about five years for most patients. It is also completely reversible should a patient not find this method to be effective or choose to explore other pain management options.
Getting Vertiflex is an outpatient procedure. Your doctor will create a small incision in your lower back. The Vertiflex implant is pushed through a tube and into place in between your vertebrae. The implant’s small arms surround each of the two vertebrae to help it stay in place and prevent it from becoming dislodged. There is minimal blood loss, very little down time, and reduced risk of infection compared to more invasive surgical options.
Who is a good candidate for Vertiflex treatment?
If you live with daily pain from lumbar spinal stenosis, are finding that it affects your quality of life, and would like to live a more active, pain-free lifestyle, Vertiflex may be a good choice for you. It is best for patients who have not found relief from more conservative measures, such as physical therapy and/or medication therapy. The best way to determine whether you’re a good candidate for Vertiflex treatment is to speak with your doctor about it. If you are currently seeing a pain management specialist, they will be most acquainted with your condition and what you have and haven’t tried already, to help you make that decision.