Lumbar stenosis surgery for sciatica, like any type of surgical procedure does not always yield the most successful results. This is why it’s important to carefully and methodically assess all of the personal risk factors.
Sciatica causes severe pain and surgery could be an option and hopefully of last resort. However, it’ is important to first attempt non-surgical/non-pharmacological treatment/s for six to twelve weeks before surgery to relieve symptoms and root cause. A full course of conservative treatment could include:
Sciatica can be caused by stenosis. This is when the spinal canal narrows, constricting, and pinching the nerves specifically the sciatic. Around ninety percent of cases stem from a herniated disc compressing the nerve roots. The damaged disc extends out and pinches the roots of the sciatic nerve. This pinching causes:
If it stays like this for a long time an individual can experience incontinence, along with permanent nerve and muscle damage.
A non-operative treatment course lasting a few weeks to months could reduce swelling in the nerve and improve sciatica symptoms. What happens is sometimes the disc gets reabsorbed over time and does not irritate the sciatic nerve.
If the non-surgical options yielded minimal positive results or completely failed and surgery is the last resort talk with your surgeon to discuss the risks and benefits. The discussion will focus on factors like:
Individuals sixty-five and older, multiple health problems, being overweight or a smoker will place an individual at a higher risk of post complications from surgery. Studies found individuals who underwent surgery for sciatica from lumbar stenosis, identified added risk factors that could affect the outcome including:
Knowing about these factors and the possible success of sciatica surgery is something to keep in mind. The best way to understand what and how the surgery will be beneficial is to understand the risks and to remember that the risks are not the same for everybody.
Surgical success depends on making sure patients are optimized before surgery. Increasing the chances of successful surgery after conservative treatment/s a surgeon will ask the patient to take these steps:
Smoking increases the rate of spinal degeneration and impairs the body’s ability to heal properly and optimally after surgery. If the surgery is elective, meaning it is not a medical emergency, then it is strongly encouraged to quit smoking before surgery. This will increase the chances of eliminating the habit. Don’t be afraid to get support. cancer.org/smokeout.
If taking antidepressant/s for depression, do not quit taking the medication thinking it will improve sciatica surgery success. Mental health is extremely important. The same goes for anticonvulsant meds as well. Stopping anticonvulsant medication for spinal surgery will more than likely cause extended damage or pre/post-surgical complications. Pre-existing conditions like depression means bringing the mental health provider and other specialists into the pre-surgical discussion.
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Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We also make copies of supporting research studies available to the board and or the public upon request. We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation as to how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900. The provider(s) Licensed in Texas& New Mexico*
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