What spinal stenosis is, is a narrowing of the spinal canal. And that’s behind the vertebrae and the discs, between the joints called the facet joints. And so if there’s arthritis of the facet joints or the discs, and bone spurs form, there’s a narrowing of that spinal canal. And within that runs all the nerves. So if there’s narrowing and pressure on the nerves, patients will often have pain in the back radiating down one or both legs as they stand or walk. And that’s very typical, and that process and condition is called lumbar spinal stenosis.
A typical treatment for spinal stenosis for many, many years has been an operation called a laminectomy, where bone is removed from the spinal canal, a sort of a Roto Rooter cleaning out of the spinal canal, in lay terms. And while we’re able to do that and successfully protect the nerves, there are consequences of doing that. We’re moving some stabilizing elements in the back of the spine, potentially, or creating more pain and disability later on if stenosis recurs.
This interspinous process spacers look to add in a more minimally invasive way. The spinous processes is what we’re talking about are those points that when you feel down the back, you can feel bumps in your lower back and you feel the bones of the vertebrae and those tips what we’re talking about, the spinous processes. So they’re pretty close to the skin. So we can do a relatively minimally invasive procedure just to hold open those spinous processes, and in the process of doing that, that indirectly opens up the canal for the spine without actually opening it directly with surgery and removing bone and arthritis tissue. So it helps to afford the same relief in many patients.