Spinal Stenosis Treated by Neurosurgeons – Baltimore, MD

Neurosurgery at Mercy - Baltimore, MD

The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Center provides diagnosis and treatment for spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal.

About the Condition

Spinal stenosis is caused by the physical narrowing of the spinal canal. This spine condition occurs when the combination of disc degeneration and facet arthritis narrow the spinal canal or openings (foramen) for the exiting nerve roots enough to irritate or compress the nerves. 

Typically, the nerves are caught between the disc annulus in the front and expanded facets on the back side of the spinal canal. When the disc loses height, the surrounding annulus bulges back into the canal, much like a tire without sufficient air pressure. 

The arthritic facet joint capsules thicken due to chronic inflammation. Facet osteophytes grow ever larger in their attempt to stabilize the spine. The space left for the nerves continues to get smaller. If this occurs gradually, the nerves can accommodate to a surprising extent. However, eventually the space gets so small that normal nerve function is no longer possible.

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Spinal stenosis symptoms often include increased leg pain with numbness, weakness or clumsiness when walking or when lying or standing in one position too long. Leg symptoms are often worse than back symptoms. Relief can be found by resting or changing position. 

Spinal stenosis can be difficult to diagnose since the symptoms are similar to other spinal conditions. Spine specialists often use imaging technology such as MRIs and CT scans to better view the spine and evaluate if there is any pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.  

NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

The best treatment for spinal stenosis that has lasting effectiveness is to remove the overgrown tissues pressing upon the nerves. An MRI or a CT-myelogram is obtained prior to surgery to accurately visualize the course of each spinal nerve and the structures pressing upon them. 

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