SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common and painful condition, which can make it difficult to walk or even stand up. But now, there is a new kind of minimally-invasive surgery that can provide long-term relief.

Baystate’s Pain Management Center is offering the new surgery, known as the Vertiflex Procedure. The procedure involves the insertion of a small titanium alloy spacer to relieve pressure on the affected nerves. The incision the physician makes is only about 1/2 inch long, and the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis; only taking about an hour to complete.

A randomized controlled trial found 2/3rds of respondents who had the procedure reported improved back pain, with 75% reporting an improvement in leg pain.

Dr. Ashish Malik, Director of the Pain Medicine Fellowship at Baystate Medical Center, is the only local doctor to perform the procedure. He says x-rays and MRIs may be used to tell if you are eligible. Before getting the surgery, however, he may need to try more conservative measures first, such as anepidural steroid injections, to determine whether the Vertiflex Procedure may be an option.

Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include:

  • Pain while walking or standing
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Loss of balance
  • Decreased physical endurance
  • Numbness or tingling in the legs, buttocks, or back
  • Aching, dull back pain spreading to the legs
  • Tendency to sit or lean over to relieve pain

To find out more about the Vertiflex Procedure, you can visit the website of the Baystate Pain Management Center, or call 413-794-4681.