Vertiflex® Procedure

The groundbreaking Vertiflex procedure has brought significant relief to many of our patients suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis. Get in touch to discover if this innovative solution is suitable for you.

What is the Vertiflex® Procedure?

The Vertiflex® Procedure is a minimally invasive spinal intervention designed to provide relief from the symptoms associated with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), a common condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can lead to significant pain, numbness, and mobility issues in the lower back and legs. Unlike traditional spinal surgery, the Vertiflex Procedure® involves the placement of a small, titanium spacer called the Superion® Indirect Decompression System (IDS) between the vertebrae affected by stenosis. This spacer is designed to keep the vertebral space open, thereby alleviating pressure on the nerves without the need for more invasive procedures such as laminectomy or spinal fusion.

Performed under local anesthesia, the Vertiflex Procedure® offers patients a quicker recovery time and less postoperative pain compared to traditional surgery. The Superion® IDS is inserted through a small incision in the back, guided into place using live X-ray imaging to ensure accuracy. Once in place, the spacer maintains an optimal distance between the vertebrae, reducing the compression of nerve roots and the spinal cord. This innovative approach not only preserves the spine's structural integrity but also allows for a reversible solution to lumbar spinal stenosis, providing significant pain relief and improved quality of life for patients with this debilitating condition.

What are the benefits and risks of the Vertiflex® procedure?

The Vertiflex® Procedure, utilizing the Superion® Indirect Decompression System, offers a minimally invasive solution for patients suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), presenting both benefits and risks.

Benefits

  • Minimally Invasive: Unlike traditional spine surgery, the Vertiflex® Procedure is less invasive, involving a small incision and minimal disruption to surrounding tissues, leading to a quicker recovery.
  • Effective Pain Relief: It has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of LSS, including pain and numbness in the lower back and legs, thereby improving the patient’s mobility and quality of life.
  • Outpatient Procedure: Often performed on an outpatient basis, it allows patients to return home the same day, reducing hospital stay costs and risks.
  • Preservation of Spinal Mobility: Unlike spinal fusion, the Vertiflex® does not restrict the movement of the spine, maintaining more natural spine motion.
  • Reversible: If necessary, the implant can be removed, and it doesn’t preclude other spine surgery options in the future.

Risks

  • Surgical Complications: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of infection, bleeding, or adverse reactions to anesthesia.
  • Implant Migration or Failure: There's a risk that the implant could move from its original position or not function as intended, potentially requiring additional surgery.
  • No Relief or Incomplete Relief of Symptoms: Some patients may not experience a significant reduction in symptoms or may require additional treatments for complete relief.
  • Nerve Damage: Though rare, there's a risk of nerve damage during the procedure, which could lead to weakness, numbness, or pain.
  • Need for Additional Surgery: In some cases, patients might need further surgical intervention if the Vertiflex® Procedure does not alleviate their symptoms.

Patients considering the Vertiflex® Procedure should have a thorough discussion with a specialist.  During a consultation, we can discuss the potential benefits and risks, considering your specific medical history and condition to help you make an informed decision.

Who is a good candidate for the Vertiflex® procedure?

Good candidates for the Vertiflex® Procedure typically include individuals suffering from moderate to severe symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) who have not found adequate relief from conservative treatment options. Here are specific criteria that help identify suitable candidates:

  • Diagnosed with Lumbar Spinal Stenosis: Patients should have a confirmed diagnosis of LSS, characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, leading to pain, numbness, or weakness in the back, buttocks, and legs.
  • Symptomatic Despite Conservative Treatments: Ideal candidates are those who have tried and not responded sufficiently to non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medications, and corticosteroid injections.
  • Seeking Minimally Invasive Options: Patients interested in less invasive alternatives to traditional spine surgery, such as laminectomy or spinal fusion, may consider the Vertiflex® Procedure. This option is particularly appealing to those who wish to avoid the longer recovery times and potential complications associated with more extensive surgeries.
  • No Severe Spinal Anomalies: The procedure is most suitable for patients without significant spinal instability, severe degenerative scoliosis, or other complex spinal conditions that might require a different surgical approach.
  • Physically Fit for Surgery: Candidates should be in overall good health or have well-managed comorbidities to undergo a minor surgical procedure under local anesthesia.
  • Realistic Expectations: Understanding the potential benefits and limitations of the Vertiflex® Procedure is crucial. Candidates should have realistic expectations about the outcome and be committed to following post-procedure care instructions for the best results.

Schedule a consultation with us so we can conduct a thorough evaluation including diagnostic imaging and possibly trial treatments, this will help determine if the Vertiflex® Procedure is the most appropriate treatment option for your specific condition and lifestyle.

How is the Vertiflex® procedure performed?

Here’s how the Vertiflex® Procedure is typically performed:

Preoperative Planning

  • Patient Selection: Ideal candidates for the Vertiflex® Procedure are those with moderate to severe LSS who have not responded adequately to conservative treatments.
  • Diagnostic Workup: Imaging studies, such as MRI or CT scans, are performed to confirm the diagnosis and identify the specific spinal levels affected by stenosis.

The Procedure

  • Anesthesia: The procedure is usually performed under local anesthesia with light sedation, allowing the patient to remain comfortable yet awake.
  • Incision and Access: A small incision, typically less than an inch long, is made in the back, directly over the affected lumbar segment.
  • Device Placement: Using fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance for accuracy, a specialized delivery tool is inserted through the incision to the targeted area within the spinal canal. The Superion® spacer is then deployed between the spinous processes of the vertebrae, at the level where the spinal canal is narrowed.
  • Spacer Deployment: The Superion® device is designed to expand in place, creating an indirect decompression by gently separating the vertebrae and opening up the space in the spinal canal. This expansion alleviates pressure on the compressed nerves.
  • Closure: Once the device is securely in place and proper decompression is achieved, the incision is closed with sutures or staples, and a bandage is applied.

Postoperative Care

  • Recovery: Patients can typically go home the same day as the procedure. Recovery involves managing any postoperative pain, which is generally minimal, and patients are encouraged to engage in light activities within a few days.
  • Follow-Up: Follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor the patient's recovery, assess the effectiveness of the procedure, and address any concerns. Physical therapy may be recommended to strengthen the back and improve mobility.

The Vertiflex® Procedure offers an effective alternative to more invasive spinal surgeries for LSS, with the benefits of reduced recovery time, preservation of spinal mobility, and the potential to significantly improve the patient's quality of life by alleviating pain and discomfort associated with lumbar spinal stenosis.

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