Brand new procedure to treat stenosis, a common cause of pain when walking

Photos courtesy of Southwest Spine and Pain, St. George News

FEATURE — A new and exciting treatment has been developed for people suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis. This new treatment not only precludes major spine surgery but has actually been shown to be more effective than traditional surgery.

The Superion implant by Vertiflex has undergone rigorous study and research. Up until recently, when conservative treatments such as physical therapy, chiropractic care, medications and epidural injections failed to provide relief of symptoms, lumbar decompressive surgery was the next option for treatment. Now the Superion implant by Vertiflex is potentially a great option for patients wanting to avoid major surgery.

Spinal stenosis occurs when there is narrowing in the spinal canal, causing pressure against the spinal nerves within the back. It can be caused by arthritis, intervertebral disc bulges and growth of a ligament inside the spine. Spinal stenosis can lead to several symptoms that can make walking and standing miserable.

Some of the most common symptoms people feel may include pain, weakness and a feeling of heaviness in the low back, hips, thighs and/or legs. Usually the symptoms get worse with standing and walking and are relieved when bending forward or sitting.

For example, people who suffer from spinal stenosis often find relief while shopping by bending forward and leaning on the shopping cart while walking. The Superion implant has been designed to treat patients that get this relief from their symptoms when bending or sitting and can help them avoid decompressive surgery.

The surgery required to place the Superion implant is a minimally invasive outpatient surgery, allowing for the patient to go home immediately following the procedure. The implant is placed between the spinous processes of the vertebrae at the level of the lumbar stenosis. This is done with a small 1-inch incision and a cannula about the size of a dime.

Special minimally invasive tools are used to put the implant in place through the small cannula, not requiring any muscles or bones to be cut on. The implant is left in place and the incision closed. The entire procedure typically takes about 30 minutes. By placing the implant in this manner, patients can expect minimal pain and a speedy recovery.

When deployed, the implant causes a distraction of the spinous processes, leading to opening of the central canal and relieving the stenosis. This is similar to when the patient gets relief of symptoms when bending or sitting.

The Superion implant has a success rate of greater than 80 percent for relief of the symptoms caused by stenosis – better than traditional surgery. The complication rate from the procedure is also much lower. If the implant does not resolve the symptoms as planned, traditional surgery can still be performed if needed. Therefore, if the stenosis does not improve or if the condition worsens, the implant does not inhibit major surgery if warranted.

The physicians at Southwest Spine and Pain were chosen to be the first physicians in the state of Utah trained to perform the Superion implant procedure and have successfully placed the implant in more patients than any other practice in this region of the country.

If you have questions regarding this procedure or any other pain complaints, the board-certified physicians at Southwest Spine and Pain Treatment Center are ready and willing to help.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T •

Written by Dr. Bryt Christensen, Southwest Spine and Pain

Resources

  • Southwest Spine and Pain in St. George: 652 S. Medical Center Drive, Suite 110 | Telephone 435-656-2424 | Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.,  Friday 8 a.m. to noon | Website
  • Other locations
    • West St. George: 2107 W Sunset Blvd., Suite 102 | Telephone 435-619-8630 | Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Hurricane: 25 N. 2000 West, Suite 8 | Telephone 435-635-0174 | Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m.
    • Cedar City: 1303 N. Main St. | Telephone 435-586-2229 | Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to noon
    • Richfield: 70 E. 1000 North, Suite 2C | Telephone 435-586-2229 | By appointment only
    • Logan: 550 E. 1400 North, Suites X & Y | Telephone 435-787-8146 | Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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1 Comment

  • Mike P April 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Is this procedure fully FDA approved and covered by most insurance as well as Medicare ?

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