The Major Types of Spinal Stenosis

While there are differences in how stenosis can affect the anatomy, all forms of stenosis are typically referred to as simply spinal stenosis.

In general, there are three main types of spinal stenosis:

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    Far lateral stenosis
    The individual nerves exit from the center of the spinal canal out hole in the back of the spine called the neuro-foramen. Beyond the neuro-foramen, there can also be narrowing secondary to the development of bone spurs from the facet joints, bulging discs, herniated discs, and ligamentum hypertrophy. This narrowing of the area lateral, or to the side of the neuro-foramen is called far lateral stenosis. There is often a combination of foraminal and far lateral stenosis.

If spinal stenosis surgery is to be performed, the different locations and types of compression are important to identify in order to guide the surgeon. With the proper imaging studies, the surgeon will plan a focused approach to the areas of spinal stenosis. Subtle differences between central, foraminal, and far lateral locations need to be defined, and deliberate planning is necessary to address all the potential areas.

Further Reading: What is Spinal Stenosis?