Pros and Cons of Surgical Treatment of Spinal Stenosis.

The decision to have surgery is never easy. Given a choice, we would all rather avoid it. There are many fears and doubts around surgery, many of which are based on misconceptions or horror stories heard from a friend of a friend or on TV. The fact is that surgery is often the only thing that can actually heal the patient fully. Unfortunately, it happens that people refuse to undergo a procedure due to misinformation or lack of knowledge, which of course results in their condition getting worse, making it unable for them to have normal lives. Is there a reason to fear surgery? What should we base this important decision on? In this article, we hope to help you make the right choice by listing the pros and cons of back surgery. Before deciding anything, make sure to consult our Spine surgeon in Delray Beach, Dr. Matthew Hepler. Your doctor will be able to address any doubts or questions you may have.


Surgical treatment of spinal stenosis involves the removal of the stenotic lesion; this usually includes removing a portion of lamina (the roof of the spinal canal), the facet joints (the upper corner of the canal), and disc herniations or bone spurs (usually along the floor and bottom corners of the canal) at each stenotic level. Here you will find more information about Spinal stenosis treatment in Fort Lauderdale.

Now, on the pros and cons of Surgical Treatment of Spinal Stenosis.

Pros of Surgical Treatment of Spinal Stenosis

1. Relieve pain

One of the main purposes of the surgery is to remove the thing that is causing compression of the nerves in the spine, giving more space for the spinal canal and the nerves within (this is called lumbar decompression surgery, or laminectomy). As a result, this will relieve the leg pain and in many cases will relieve the back pain, too.

2. Minimally Invasive Surgery

The surgery can be done via a minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS ) approach with more localized lesions for less severe stenosis and open approaches for more involved cases. The presence of instability, due to the removal of more than 50% of the facet joints or the underlying spondylolisthesis, usually requires stabilization with a fusion procedure (XLIF, TLIF, PLFI). Surgery for spinal stenosis is one of the most successful orthopedic procedures, with good to excellent results in the majority (>90%) of patients. Outcome studies demonstrate similar quality of life (QOL) scores following spinal decompression compared to total hip and knee arthroplasty as well as superior cost utility (QALY).

3. Relatively quick recovery

The post-operation recovery will of course depend on the patient, but usually it takes about 4 to 6 weeks to fully recover.

Cons of Surgical Treatment of Spinal Stenosis

As in any surgery, there are some risks. In some cases, the surgery may cause instability to the spine (as a result of removing the material that is causing the compression). When that occurs, the doctor may recommend the patient undergo spinal fusion. Other risks include, but are not limited to, infection, dural tear, nerve injury, and chronic pain. Each patient is unique and only a comprehensive evaluation with a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, such as our Spine surgeon in Delray Beach, can give you the best appreciation of the risks and benefits of surgical treatment of your condition.

Spine surgeon in Palm Beach County – About Dr. Matthew Hepler

If you live in Broward County or Palm Beach County and are looking for an orthopedic doctor, Dr. Matthew Hepler is your best option. He is a Board Certified physician with years of experience in his specialty. He is also an expert in back surgery and Spinal stenosis treatment in Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach. We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule an appointment at one of our facilities. Give us a call; we are looking forward to seeing you soon.