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- Being born with a narrow spinal canal
- Age: 50 or older
- Previous injury or surgery of the spine
- Numbness, weakness, cramping, or pain in the legs and thighs
- Radiating pain down the leg
- Abnormal bowel and/or bladder function
- Decreased sensation in the feet causing difficulty placing the feet when walking
- Loss of sexual function
- Partial or complete paralysis of legs
- X-ray—a test that uses radiation to take pictures of structures inside the body; in this case, to check for abnormalities in the bones of the back including osteoarthritis, bone spurs, and obvious narrowing of the spinal canal
- CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the bones of the back, which helps to evaluate the spinal canal
- MRI scan—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of soft tissue, such as the spinal cord and the spinal nerves inside the back
- Decompression laminectomy—This is the removal of bony spurs or increased bone mass in the spinal canal. This can free up space for the nerves and the spinal cord.
- Spinal fusion—This is when two vertebrae (back bones) are fused together. This will provide stronger support for the spine. This is almost always done after decompression laminectomy.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org
Arthritis Foundation http://www.arthritis.org
The Arthritis Society http://www.arthritis.ca
Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org
American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org. Accessed July 7, 2009.
Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org. Accessed July 7, 2009.
Berkow R. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. Home Edition. New York, NY: Merck Research Laboratories; 1999.
Questions & answers about spinal stenosis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Spinal%5FStenosis/default.asp. Published April 2009. Accessed July 7, 2009.
- Reviewer: John C. Keel, MD
- Review Date: 09/2011 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2011 -