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The Difference Between Vertiflex and Open Surgery for Spinal Stenosis

The pain, discomfort, or numbness that comes with spinal stenosis can be unbearable. If you suffer from these symptoms, you’re probably wondering what you can do to relieve your pain.  One of the options you may come across is the VertiflexTM procedure. Another is surgery.

What’s the difference between the two and which option is better for you? At Houston Pain Specialists, we have answers. In this blog, we go over the Vertiflex procedure and discuss the main differences between it and surgery.

The Vertiflex procedure

As medicine advances and new technology and pain management practices come out, we strive to make the procedures we perform as minimally invasive as possible to keep you comfortable and reduce recovery times. 

With the Vertiflex procedure, we’re much closer to solving the issue of spinal stenosis without major surgery. This state-of-the-art outpatient procedure is minimally invasive, requiring only a local anesthetic and a small incision. 

Using a small tube called a dilator, we move the surrounding tissue out of the way, creating a clear path for a titanium implant called SuperionTM. Once we’ve placed the Superion implant, it takes pressure off your nerves and spinal cord, relieving symptoms.

Our pain management specialist, Dr. Hui Kang, recommends the Vertiflex procedure for more reasons than just its minimal invasiveness. 

Your recovery time is significantly reduced (full recovery is approximately six weeks) and you can perform light activities as soon as you feel comfortable. The procedure takes only about 20-30 minutes, and in most cases, our patients feel immediate relief after the procedure.

Open surgery

Undergoing open surgery is a stressful process and typically comes with long recovery times. You have to plan for staying in the hospital at least one night after your surgery, and you’ll be out of commission for at least three months while you recover.

There are three main surgeries used to treat spinal stenosis.

Laminectomy, the most common option, involves removing the ligaments, bone, and/or spurs that put pressure on your nerves and cause symptoms.

Spinal fusion, sometimes performed in conjunction with a laminectomy, reduces movement in your spine by using medical hardware like rods and screws to join the vertebrae together.

Foraminotomy involves expanding the part of the vertebrae where the roots of your nerves fan out to the rest of your body.

The main differences

The amount of invasiveness is a major difference between the Vertiflex procedure and open surgery. Less invasive but effective methods like Vertiflex are preferable. Vertiflex has long-term results without the inconvenience of open surgery.

Recovery time differs significantly. Wouldn’t you rather return to your daily routines and activities in as little as six weeks instead of three months or more? 

Preserving as much spinal movement as possible is important to your quality of life. If you undergo open surgery that involves spinal fusion, your spinal movement becomes limited. 

The Superion implant that we use in the Vertiflex procedure helps preserve movement while reducing or eliminating your symptoms. Simply put, the implant holds the compressed vertebrae farther apart.

Dr. Kang and the rest of our team at Houston Pain Specialists are dedicated to bringing you relief and restoring your quality of life using the best methods possible. Give us a call today or request an appointment online to take the next steps toward a pain-free life.

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