Everything You Need to Know About MILD Procedure For Lumbar Compression

Although the onset of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) can occur with little to no evidence of the condition, symptoms can worsen and cause debilitating pain in your lower spine that can radiate into your legs. Living with the condition can interfere with normal walking and movement.

LSS occurs when the spinal canal has narrowed and compressed to the point that it exerts pressure on the spinal cord nerves in the lumbar (lower) region of your back. Standing or walking compresses the spinal canal further, making it impossible to stand longer than a few minutes or walk more than a few hundred feet without pain. Weakness, numbness, and tingling in a foot or leg also occurs, increasing the risk of falls. 

This degenerative condition isn’t self-correcting and can worsen without treatment. Initial therapy for lumbar spinal stenosis involves conservative treatments such as physical therapy, quitting smoking, losing weight, NSAIDs, and facet joint injections. 

If you don’t achieve improvement or relief of your symptoms with conservative treatment, you may be a good candidate for minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD®), a safe and effective procedure for LSS. Treating your LSS with MILD can deliver results comparable to open spine surgery without the surgical risk and inconvenience of a hospital stay.

You’ll get the best results when you consult with experts in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic back pain. Interventional pain physician and board-certified anesthesiologist Kush H. Tripathi, MD, and the pain management team of Broward Specialty Group provide professional treatment for spinal stenosis in Coconut Creek, Delray Beach, and Pompano Beach, Florida. 

After a comprehensive physical examination, medical history, and review of diagnostic and imaging tests, Dr. Tripathi determines whether MILD is an appropriate treatment for your LSS symptoms. Find out more about how MILD can improve LSS symptoms and make a difference in your quality of life. 

How a MILD procedure works

The MILD procedure, also called lumbar laminectomy, relieves your lower back pain by removing a portion of the lamina, the thin, arched part of each vertebra that provides a protective cover over the spinal canal. Removing part of the lamina from the affected vertebrae expands open space in your spinal canal. 

During the procedure, Dr. Tripathi may also extract bony overgrowths and ligament tissue that may be compressing the spinal nerves. 

The procedure works to remove the sources of inflammation and pain. In post-operative studies, 79% of patients treated with MILD reported better mobility and reduced pain.

MILD is an FDA-approved procedure that improves your quality of life without stitches, implants, or steroids. The simplicity of the procedure reduces surgical risk, which is an advantage for patients with LSS, most of whom are typically over age 60 when symptoms become severe. 

What’s involved in having a MILD procedure

A typical MILD procedure takes about an hour. During that time, you’re kept comfortable with a local anesthetic and light sedation.

The entire procedure is done through a small 1-cm incision over each targeted vertebra. During your surgery, Dr. Tripathi utilizes X-ray images known as fluoroscopy. These real-time images help Dr. Tripathi accurately guide his surgical instruments without the need for open spine surgery.

Special tiny surgical instruments are used to separate soft tissues like ligaments and muscles, avoiding the need to cut through them. Since your body requires less healing after surgery, there is less postoperative pain, and your recovery occurs faster.

Recovery after a MILD procedure

MILD is performed on an outpatient basis, so you can expect to return home shortly after your procedure is complete. You’ll receive pain medication and instructions on how to deal with post-operative discomfort and ease back into your routine.

Your tiny incisions heal quickly. You can typically resume light activities within a few days, though you have to avoid strenuous activities for a longer period. Most patients resume normal activities within a week or two after surgery. 

If chronic back pain from LSS is interfering with your ability to live fully, find out if MILD is right for you. Request an appointment online, or call one of our convenient offices in Coconut Creek, Delray Beach, or Pompano Beach today.

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