Minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) is a treatment for patients with central spinal stenosis and lower extremity numbness, tingling or pain due to increased thickness of their ligamentum flavum. Patients who undergo MILD must also have not seen improvement with conservative treatment and be unable or unwilling to undergo open spine surgery. Risks from MILD include infection, bleeding, dural puncture and nerve injury.
The procedure involves lying face down on an X-ray table. You will receive sedating medication through an IV, and your back is scrubbed with an antibacterial cleanser. Your physician uses an X-ray camera to identify the target level, and a local anesthetic is used to numb the skin.
A small incision the size of an aspirin is made in your back, and a special sculpting tool, about the size of a pen cap, is inserted between the bones of your back to remove some of the thickened ligament and reduce the compression on the nerve roots.
The procedure usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, and patients typically recover quickly and are able to resume light activities within a few days.
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