Minuteman® for Back & Leg Pain
What causes back & leg pain?
Back pain is usually caused by the natural degeneration of the spine as we age. Severe degeneration can cause weakness or instability of your spine, which can lead to debilitating pain in the lower back. These painful symptoms can also extend into your buttocks, legs, or feet.
While back and/or leg pain are extremely common, the symptoms and severity of the pain vary greatly. Your pain may be dull, sharp, may be in one isolated area, or cover a broad area. Your back pain may include shooting pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness in the legs and feet. Pain that travels to the legs and feet is commonly due to the degenerative process that causes nerves around the spine to become pinched.
What causes spinal degeneration?
Spinal degeneration is a condition characterized by gradual wear and tear to the discs, joints, and bones of the spine. The cause of spinal degeneration is simple overuse or aging. As you age, the degenerative changes to your spine may include decreased disc height, instability, loss of joint cartilage, bone spurs (osteophytes), and thickened ligaments and bones. Spinal degeneration can lead to instability in the spine. This is when one vertebra slips forward over another vertebra, causing pain, also known as spondylolisthesis. Arthritis is also a form of spinal degeneration. Due to a loss of joint cartilage, bone spurs and thickened ligaments can develop and cause narrowing of the spinal canal. As a result, the spinal nerve roots may become pinched and cause pain that radiates down the leg.
Identifying your symptoms, along with an accurate diagnosis of the underlying causes of the pain, is the first step to obtaining effective pain relief. At Dr. Johans Neurosurgery, there is a new minimally invasive treatment that can help.
How can Minuteman help back & leg pain?
If you suffer from chronic back or leg pain, and have not found relief from conservative treatments, Dr. Johans may recommend a minimally invasive spinal fusion.
The following questions will help determine if the Minuteman System is right for you:
- Does your back or leg pain worsen with prolonged standing or walking?
- Does your back or leg pain improve while you are sitting?
- Does leaning forward improve your pain?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be a candidate for implantation of Minuteman. Minuteman offers a less invasive alternative to traditional fusion procedures. When it comes to stabilizing the spine, the Minuteman has been shown to be comparable to screws and rods (Data is on File at Spinal Simplicity). This helps alleviate symptoms of back and leg pain. For people who are not able to physically handle a more traditional fusion or long recovery, the Minuteman may be a particularly good option.
It is important to talk to Dr. Johans about the best way to treat your back and/or leg pain. Your doctor will decide if minimally invasive spine surgery is the right choice for your condition. Minuteman is intended for plate fixation/attachment to spinous processes for the purpose of achieving supplemental fusion in the following conditions: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, Degenerative Disc Disease, Spondylolisthesis.
The Minuteman® Procedure
During the procedure, Dr. Johans will make a 1-inch incision on the side, dilation is used to access the spine, and the Minuteman is implanted with bone graft material. The lateral approach does not require dissection or stripping of the sensitive back muscles, bones, or nerves. This advantageous approach may lead to a shorter operative time, less blood loss, reduced hospital stays and a faster recovery time.