If workers comp spinal stenosis symptoms are mild and there is no danger they’ll get worse, surgery is not usually recommended. In workers compensation, there is no reason for an injured worker to make a medical decision based on possible legal case outcomes. No attorney should be giving medical recommendations or advice to anyone. It is certainly acceptable for the attorney to advise of the potential legal consequences of alternative medical outcomes, but that should be the extent of it. The injured employee should base medical decisions upon informed advice from health care professionals.
But for anyone with severe symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, surgery may be needed. When there are signs that pressure is building on the spinal nerves, decompressive surgery may be required, sometimes right away. Decompression means that bone and/or soft tissue are removed from around the spinal nerves to take the pressure off. The signs doctors watch for when reaching this decision include weakening in the leg muscles, pain that won’t ease up, and problems with the bowels or bladder.
Pressure on the spinal nerves can cause a loss of control in the bowels or bladder. This is an emergency. If the pressure isn’t relieved, it can lead to more serious issues. Surgery is recommended to remove pressure from the nerves.
The main surgical procedure used to treat spinal stenosis is lumbar laminectomy. Some patients also require fusion surgery immediately after the laminectomy procedure if spinal instability is present.
The lamina is the covering layer of the bony ring of the spinal column. It forms a roof-like structure over the back of the spinal canal. When the nerves in the spinal canal are being squeezed by a herniated disc or bone spurs, a lumbar laminectomy removes the entire lamina to release pressure on the spinal nerves. This is the primary type of surgery used for lumbar spinal stenosis.
A posterior lumbar fusion may be needed after a surgeon performs a lumbar laminectomy. The fusion procedure is recommended when a spinal segment has become loose or unstable.
A fusion surgery joins two or more bones into one solid bone. This keeps the bones and joints from moving. In this procedure, the surgeon lays small grafts of bone over the back of the spine. Most surgeons also apply metal plates and screws to prevent the two vertebrae from moving. This protects the graft so it can heal better and faster.
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McCormick Law Office workers compensation attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.