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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Specialist

George Kakoulides, MD -  - Board Certified Neurosurgeon

George Kakoulides, MD

Board Certified Neurosurgeon located in West Islip, Huntington, Smithtown, NY, & Long Island, NY

If you suffer from ongoing lower back pain or pain that radiates down your leg, there’s a good chance you have lumbar spinal stenosis. George Kakoulides, MD, in West Islip, Huntington, and Smithtown, New York, helps patients find relief from their pain with conservative and surgical treatments, including minimally invasive procedures to decompress damaged spinal nerves. To learn more about your treatment options for lumbar spinal stenosis, call the office that’s most convenient for you or book an appointment online.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

What causes lumbar spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows. When you develop this problem in your lower back, it’s called lumbar spinal stenosis.

The spinal canal narrows when an injury, fracture, or degenerative condition diminishes the space inside the opening. In some patients, genetics may also contribute to spinal stenosis.

The degenerative conditions that most often cause lumbar spinal stenosis include:

  • Bulging disc
  • Herniated disc
  • Bone spurs
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease

These conditions cause changes that protrude into the canal or cause misaligned vertebrae, leading to nerve compression and inflammation.

What symptoms develop due to lumbar spinal stenosis?

When the spinal nerves are compressed, you experience symptoms such as:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pain that radiates down your legs (sciatica)
  • Leg cramping when you walk or stand (neurogenic claudication)
  • Tingling or numbness in your buttocks and legs
  • Leg weakness or fatigue

Patients with lumbar spinal stenosis find that their leg pain feels better when they rest or bend forward. 

How is lumbar spinal stenosis treated?

After reviewing your symptoms and performing an exam, Dr. Kakoulides orders an MRI or CT scan of your lower spine. The information provided by diagnostic imaging is essential for planning your treatment.

Depending on the severity of your nerve damage and symptoms, Dr. Kakoulides may initially treat lumbar spinal stenosis with nonsurgical options, such as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and alternative therapies. 

If your pain doesn’t improve, he may recommend an epidural steroid injection.

When your symptoms persist or get worse, Dr. Kakoulides recommends surgery to decompress the nerves. He has extensive experience performing several decompression procedures, including: 

Lumbar laminectomy

This is the most common surgical treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis. During the procedure, Dr. Kakoulides removes part of the bone and ligaments, effectively increasing the size of the spinal canal and eliminating pressure on the nerves. 

Following a lumbar laminectomy, you may need to have a spinal fusion to restore spinal stability. 

X-STOP® Interspinous Spacer

The bony piece that sticks out from the back of each vertebra is called the spinous process. The X-STOP is a small device that’s designed to be implanted between the spinous processes of two adjoining vertebrae.

Using a minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Kakoulides places the X-STOP between two vertebrae, where it safely increases the space between the two bones, enlarges the opening where nerves exit the spinal canal, decompresses the nerves, and relieves your symptoms. 

If you need relief from lower back or leg pain, call George Kakoulides, MD, or schedule an appointment online.