Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is a painful and restrictive degenerative condition affecting the lower spinal nerves in patients over the age of 50. As a result, the spinal canal is narrowed, which applies pressure—or pinches—these nerves causing back and leg pain that worsens with standing upright and walking. The distinguishing difference between this pain and other forms of back discomfort is the almost immediate relief felt upon flexing forward and sitting down.
Now with the innovative interspinous spacer technology called Superion by Vertiflex, patients are finally finding the relief they have been waiting for–whether they’re standing, walking or sitting. After the procedure patients can walk longer and more upright without pain. If you are someone who immediately looks for a shopping cart in order to walk without pain this procedure is for you!!
What is Superion?
Superion is a stand-alone interspinous spacer designed to relieve pressure on the affected nerves in the same manner that one achieves from bending forward or sitting down. Made of titanium, the device is implanted into the lumbar spine in a minimally invasive procedure that requires no more than a 1⁄2 inch incision along the spine. While the innovative design and simple delivery are impressive, Superion’s greatest success lies within the concurrent literature. Thanks to rigorous FDA clinical trials and a robust body of research data, Superion is now recognized as one of the safest and most effective treatments available for lumbar stenosis.
During the 30 minute procedure, patients are mildly sedated as the device is gently placed through a tube with a circumference no wider than a dime. From there, the implanted device is deployed, allowing it to expand to the desired gauge. Once in place the implant locks and prevents extension in the back, which is the cause of pinching the nerves and pain. Amazingly, all of this is done with a set of stainless-steel instruments, no larger or more complex than a screwdriver.
Once the device is in place, a simple stitch and band-aid are all that is required before patients can walk out of the office and experience the immediate reduction in pain.
Ideal Candidates for Superion
Known as the “Shopping Cart Sign”, patients suffering from Lumbar Spinal Stenosis can be easily identified by their use of handlebars, walkers or carts that help to alleviate the pain while walking and standing.
Superion is ideal for patients that present mild to moderate symptoms such as tingling, pain, and numbness throughout their lower backs, buttocks and legs. Patients will often say that their legs start to feel like tree trunks while walking.
According to Dr. Giuffrida, Director of Interventional Sports and Spine here at Cantor Spine, Superion should be considered when “physical function is impaired, patients have been symptomatic yet unresponsive to conservative care treatment for at least six months and operative treatment is indicated at no more than two adjacent levels.”
Additionally, Superion has been hailed for its ability to effectively treat the actual cause and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, a welcome alternative to outdated treatments that rely on narcotics to temporarily reduce or mask the pain.
Benefits of Superion
The benefits? To say there are many would be an understatement.
Like no other treatment to date, Superion has shown long-term and sustainable relief that has only been refined and improved through rigorous clinical trials. While the simple, outpatient process is beneficial for patients on its own, other benefits include:
- The utilization of disposable tools is sterile, reducing the risk of infection.
- Patients are able to walk on their own within 30 minutes.
- The five-year data is unlike any other in spinal treatments to date.
- Patients that have become dependant on opiates for relief can drastically reduce, if not eliminate, their dosages.
- Pain relief without undergoing major surgery and full anesthesia.
Just like any surgery—minimally invasive or not—there are possible risks that should always be considered. The two main risks and the preventative measures we take are:
Infection: Whenever an incision is made, we take precautionary steps to ensure infection does not occur. This is precisely why the procedure is performed inside of a sterile operating room, despite the simplicity of the process. This is, of course, in conjunction with exceptional sanitation standards and the aforementioned disposable tools.
Bleeding: This is typically only a concern for those with cardiac conditions that require medications such as Coumadin, Heparin or another type of anticoagulant. To avoid any complications we require a full patient history, including any current medications and supplements. For this procedure, we will require cardiac clearance to stop this medication to lower the risk of bleeding.
The results of this interspinous spacer technology are exciting. Patients report a significant decrease in pain and increased mobility. Because Superion was developed with patient care and safety in mind, this treatment provides rapid, long-lasting results with minimal tissue damage and virtually zero recovery time.
At Cantor Spine Institute, this is our mission, as well.
We aim to help patients alleviate their debilitating neck and back pains without intruding on their lifestyles. Using our forward-thinking approach, cutting-edge technology and training, our team is dedicated to getting your life back.
Waiting for discomfort to dissipate on its own will only perpetuate the pain and increase the potential for damage to occur below the surface. Don’t live a life sitting down to avoid pain from Lumbar Spinal Stenosis a moment longer. To learn more about our groundbreaking advancements in the surgical treatment of spinal disorders, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 954.567.1332.