Interspinous Process Spacers
Interspinous process spacer devices are minimally invasive tools to help alleviate low back and leg pain associated with spinal stenosis or spondylolisthesis (slippage of vertebrae). Lumbar stenosis with neurogenic claudication is caused by compression of the spinal canal and nerve roots. It is described as cramping pain in the low back and legs that is worse with walking and improved with bending forward or sitting. It is a very common source of pain in the elderly. In patients that have failed conservative measures like physical therapy, medications and epidural steroid injections, a minimally invasive interspinous process spacer may be a great option for significant pain relief.
Additionally, patients who have significant health issues and are not good candidates for major spine surgery, may benefit from a minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedure such as an interspinous process spacer device. A posterior (from the back) or lateral (from the side) approach can be used with a small incision in the skin to introduce a hollow working channel that delivers a small interspinous process spacer. This provides stabilization and distraction to create additional space in the spinal canal and relieve pressure on the spinal contents and nerve roots. Patients notice improved low back and leg pain. They also notice an improved ability to walk longer distances with less pain.