In most cases, there is little serious risk involved in lumbar stenosis, but long-standing and untreated conditions may progress to permanent disability. If only the lower extremities are involved, then cause for less concern. If bowel or bladder problems occur, however, prompt medical evaluation is highly recommended.
In the management of lumbar spinal stenosis, both surgical and non-surgical options exist, and generally the non-surgical ones will be exhausted prior to surgery. Over the counter medications for pain and inflammation, as well as physical therapy and spinal injections can all serve to reduce pain and progression of the disease. In patients for whom this treatment is inadequate, surgery may be recommended. The goal of surgery is primarily to reduce pain in the legs and resolve bowel or bladder problems, and is less reliable for reducing pain in the back. Most patients are able to resume all normal activities in six to nine months after surgery.
Physical examination and patient history will be performed, along with possible neurologic evaluation for nerve function in the lower extremities. X-rays, MRI, and contrast CT are all excellent options for visualizing the structures of the back in greater detail to assess the problematic areas, and may be ordered in the course of diagnosis.
DAY OF SURGERY INFORMATION
Drive to the South parking garage. Free Valet parking is available during business hours. If you self-park, take the elevator from the garage to the first floor to enter the main hospital lobby. Wheelchairs are available if needed. Take the D elevator to the 2nd floor. Proceed to the Surgical and Endoscopy Check-In Desk. Here you and your family will be checked in and escorted to the Pre-op Area to be prepared for surgery. Up to two family members may wait with you until you are taken to surgery. Your family may then wait in the Surgical Waiting room until notified by the surgeon that the surgery has been completed. A receptionist will take down contact information so that your family may be easily reached to speak with Dr. Paul. Complimentary coffee is available for your family while in the Surgical Waiting room. The cafeteria and gift shop are on the ground floor in the North area of the hospital and the coffee shop is in the South area of the hospital for your family’s convenience.
In the preoperative room you will be prepared for surgery. The team will be checking your vital signs, starting your IV, validating your medications, health history, lab results and any follow up for additional testing needed. At this time, they will obtain your consent for surgery and answer any questions you may still have. Your anesthesiologist will see you and your family prior to your surgery. Dr. Paul, Adam or Kevin will mark your surgical site. You will be escorted to the operating room by cart. Your family can wait in the surgical waiting room. Dr. Paul will call them when surgery is completed. If he can not reach them, he will leave a message with the Patient Liaison. Following surgery you will be taken to the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) where you will recover for an hour or more. During this time, pain and nausea control will be established and your vital signs will be monitored frequently.