1. Lumbar stenosis is the narrowing of passages within the lumbar spine that contain the nerves
    • Most often caused by
      • Degeneration (often age-related) wuth overgrowth of bone and tissue
      • Disc displacement - disc material moves into an abnormal location
    • Stenosis can be central stenosis, lateral recess stenosis, and/or foraminal stenosis
  2. Lumbar stenosis can cause compression of "pinching" of the nerves of the lumbar spine
    • This pinching can cause irritation and/or injury to the nerves leading to symptoms
      • Symptoms typically are pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness of the legs
    • Compression of the nerves in the central canal of the lumbar spine can cause neurogenic claudication
      • Neurogenic claudication is pain in the legs that occurs with (or is made worse by) walking that is relieved with rest
    • Pressure on the nerves in the lateral recess of the lumbar spine or foramen can cause lumbar radiculopathy
      • Lumbar radiculopathy typically is pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness occurring in a portion of one leg supplied by a lumbar nerve root
        • For example: an L5 radiculopathy might cause pain, numbness, and/or tingling in the calf and top of the foot, and possibly weakness of the ankle on one side
    • These syndromes can be isolated or occur together and with multiple nerves
  3. When lumbar stenosis causes signifcant symptoms, surgery can be considered
    • Goal of surgery is to decompress the nerve and relieve symptoms
      • Bone and soft tissue is surgically removed to take pressure off of nerves
    • Common decompression surgeries are
      • Laminectomy - overgrown bone (the lamina) and tissue is removed from behind the nerves
      • Discectomy - displaced disc material is removed to take pressure off of nerves
    • Under certain circumstances, decompression surgery is performed with fusion

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