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When to Consider Interspinous Fusion for Persistent Back Pain

When to Consider Interspinous Fusion for Persistent Back Pain

Interspinous fusion is a minimally invasive surgery that treats symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, a condition that occurs when the spinal canal narrows and squeezes the nerves passing through it. This causes back pain and abnormal sensations, including tingling and numbness (radiculopathy).

At aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics, our board-certified interventional pain management specialist, Dr. Brian K. Rich, wants anyone suffering from chronic back pain or limited mobility to be aware of their treatment choices. Interspinous fusion represents improvements in minimally invasive spine surgery, and is an appropriate choice for certain patients. Read on to learn when to consider discussing this option. 

Interspinous fusion defined

Interspinous fusion, also known as interspinous process fusion, involves using a device to open up more space around the spinal canal as well as limit extension and increase flexion of the spine. Doing so is intended to restore space for the nerves to pass through without getting compressed, thereby alleviating pain and other symptoms of spinal stenosis. 

The procedure is an alternative to a standard laminectomy. For most patients, the result is less stress on muscles and ligaments and quicker recovery than traditional spine fusion surgery.

How interspinous fusion is performed

Interspinous fusion involves placing a spacer device through a small incision made between neighboring spinous processes, which are bony protrusions of the vertebrae along the back of the spine. If you lean forward and run your hand along your spine, you can feel the spinous processes.

This keeps the spinal column stable by preventing mobility between the two spine bones. 

Advantages of interspinous fusion

Interspinous fusion for lumbar spinal stenosis provides numerous advantages over typical spinal fusion methods, including:

Interspinous process fusion can be done as an outpatient procedure. 

When to consider interspinous fusion

Interspinous fusion is appropriate for patients who have modest spinal stenosis and require only a small amount of bone and soft tissue removal to relieve discomfort. 

Patients should try more conservative therapies first, such as physical therapy and epidural injections, before considering surgical intervention, including interspinous fusion. 

When surgery is advised, interspinous fusion is best suited for patients over the age of 50 who have modest spinal stenosis localized to one or two levels. Consider discussing interspinous fusion if standard treatment for spinal stenosis has failed to adequately relieve your symptoms. 

Patients with extensive spinal stenosis might consider foregoing fusion surgery and instead opting for a different technique. Dr. Rich can go over your options with you after a thorough evaluation. 

To find out how the aCELLerated Interventional Orthopedics team can help you, give us a call and our scheduling coordinator will assist you in scheduling a consultation with Dr. Rich. We have offices in Southlake, Texas, and Lawton, Oklahoma. 

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