Spinal spacers, also known as Vertiflex, are a treatment for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis with lower extremity numbness, tingling or pain that is relieved with lumbar flexion. These patients must also have failed conservative treatment and are unable or unwilling to undergo open spine surgery.
Risks include infection, bleeding 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 is made in your back, and a small tube the size of a dime is advanced in between the spinous processes in your back. An implant is placed through the tube and deployed. This implant prevents the bones in your back from compressing the nerves when standing or leaning back, relieving your pain.
The procedure usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, and patients typically recover quickly.
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