What is Vertiflex Interspinous spacer?
Vertiflex interspinous spacer is a procedure in which a little metal device is placed between 2 spinal levels to decompress the nerves being pinched by lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis or LSS is a narrowing of the spinal canal which pinches the nerves causing low back, buttock, and leg pain, numbness, or heaviness with walking or standing for a short period. The symptoms usually resolve shortly after leaning forward or sitting. This is called Neurogenic Intermittent Claudication or NIC. It is a procedure for those who have failed conservative and injection therapies as well as for those who are not spine surgery candidates or refuse to have spine surgery.
What are the pre-requisites in order to perform this procedure?
You may need to stop taking certain medications several days before the procedure, especially anticoagulant or “blood thinning” medications, as well as other prescription and/or over-the-counter medications, including herbal and vitamin supplements.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour with an average of about 30 min.
Will the procedure hurt?
You will be under IV sedation similar to a colonoscopy but not general anesthesia. Numbing medicine is also used.
What should I expect after the procedure and what are the side effects?
Pain relief may be immediate with the ability to walk and stand much longer or it can take a few weeks to notice relief. There are no side effects but you may experience some pain or discomfort from the procedure for a week or so.
What should I do after the procedure?
You will return to the office between 7-14 days to have either a couple staples or sutures removed. Some localized tenderness may be experienced for a couple of days after the procedure. Using an ice pack with a barrier such as a towel between the skin and ice, three or four times a day will help this. You may take your prescribed pain medications after the injection.