CERVICAL SPINAL STENOSIS

At Southwest Scoliosis Institute, our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic doctors, have treated thousands of patients with complex spine conditions, including cervical spinal stenosis.

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CERVICAL SPINAL STENOSIS

When you come to our offices, you will find that all of the orthopedic surgeons at Southwest Scoliosis Institute – Richard Hostin, MD, Shyam Kishan, MD, and Kathryn Wiesman, MD – are board-certified, and fellowship-trained who have performed surgery on more than 30,000 patients with scoliosis and other complex spine conditions such as cervical spinal stenosis.

To begin with, Cervical spinal stenosis usually occurs in older adults as the result of normal age-related causes like wear and tear, as well as conditions such as arthritis, or due to a combination of both.  Also, other conditions that can lead to this condition include:

  • Cervical disc herniation
  • A condition in which one vertebra slips over the one beneath it
  • Bone spurs
  • Injuries to the vertebrae and/or disc(s)
  • Spinal tumors
  • Previous spine surgery

Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Upon reviewing this condition, doctors notice that it can occur with and without symptoms, but when symptoms do occur, they tend to progress over time. Furthermore, the most common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands, legs or feet
  • Muscle weakness in the hands, legs or feet
  • Difficulty/imbalance while walking or standing
  • Difficulty with fine hand movements
  • In severe cases, loss of bladder or bowel control

Findings and Testing

In order to make a finding, our doctors will go over your medical history with you and perform a thorough physical exam. During the physical exam, the doctor will check to see if you have any balance problems, as well as any loss of muscle reflexes, loss of sensation, or muscle weakness that may be the result of spinal cord compression.  In addition, the doctor will then test using X-rays, CT scans, or MRI imaging.  To be specific, CT and MRI scans reveal problems with the soft tissue, including the spinal cord and nerves.

Meanwhile, our practice utilizes a digital low dose X-ray system that takes high-quality images in under a minute. Also, this system can capture X-ray images of patients while in a standing or seated position.  Moreover, the equipment is located inside our Dallas office where patients and doctors can review the X-rays quickly.

Neck X-ray skeleton

X-ray of Neck (cervical spine)

Stenosis Spinal vertebrae

Illustration of normal canal and narrowing of canal

Treatment for Cervical Spinal Stenosis

With this condition, many patients do not require surgery and will get better with the help of certain medicines. In addition to NSAID drugs, your doctor may recommend physical therapy.  Also, physical therapy will strengthen the muscles in the neck and stabilize the spine. Sometimes, epidural steroid injections may also be used to decrease swelling in and around any affected nerves.

Spinal Stenosis Surgery

sIf nonsurgical treatments do not relieve symptoms or if they get worse, your doctor may recommend surgery.  In order to treat cervical spinal stenosis, there are several surgical procedures that can be used to relieve spinal cord pressure.

Thus, the most common surgical procedures for this condition consist of the following by one of our skilled and competent doctors:

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Spinal Fusion

When cervical disc herniation or degenerative disc disease is found, this surgery is typically used.  In order to correct the problem, the surgeon removes all or part of the affected disc.  Then the surgeon performs a fusion to stabilize the spine to allow the bones to heal properly.

Decompressive laminectomy

In short, this is the most common procedure to correct cervical spinal stenosis.  During a laminectomy, the surgeon will remove all or part of the lamina from the back of the vertebra.  Sometimes, only a small hole needs to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.

Foraminotomy

For nerves to pass from the spinal cord to the rest of the body, they use the foramen as their passageway.   In this procedure, the surgeon cuts a small hole in the vertebra to relieve the pressure on the nerves and spin.

In addition, these surgeries may even be performed using minimally invasive techniques.  To do this, the surgeon makes a tiny (3 to 15 millimeter) incision and uses specialized instruments to conduct the surgery.  With minimally invasive procedures, doctors normally allow patients to return to their homes the same day after surgery.

“To be specific, spinal stenosis is a condition we most typically see in patients over 50 years of age. When we treat this condition, we recommend exercise and physical therapy, lumbar traction, medicines, and sometimes epidural steroid injections. If patients do not respond to these conservative treatments, surgery can open up the space available for the nerves.”

Richard Hostin, MD

If you or a loved one suffers from spinal pain, you owe it to yourself to call Southwest Scoliosis Institute at
214-556-0555 to make an appointment.