This is a fairly new procedure that is used to help relieve certain kinds of chronic back pain. The procedure is an alternative to open surgery, which is considered to be an invasive treatment, and is done as an outpatient treatment. Select from resources below to keep learning about how it works and how it can help.
What Patients Are Saying
Everyone at the office is so friendly and helpful.
From Sabrina at the front desk, to Esther, the nurse practitioner who we saw for the appointment, everyone was professional and courteous.
- Maria D.
After transitioning from a pain and spine doctor in Columbia, MD.. The intake staff member at Pain and Spine Specialist made the scheduling a breeze. They were able to get me in within a week.
- Rashawn JJ
I've been going to the office for at least a year now. Never have I had a poor visit. Staff are friendly, caring and compassionate. All the doctors / NP are Amazing. They actually care about each patients health.
- Debbie Lang
This is an office that exceeded my expectations. The doctor was a good listener and I was impressed with understanding of my pain and symptoms. Highly recommend!!! - Pain and Spine Specialists of Mount Airy.
- Jeanne Wagener
This practice- every member - has been exceptional in helping me to manage sever spinal stenosis. Every care provider ( and I’ve seen most over 3 years) listens carefully and works with me to seek the best treatment modalities.
- Eileen M
My medications are on point and my new injections are awesome! I get my 2nd injection on September 2nd and I can't wait! I couldn't ask for a better doctor than my doctor! I'm very happy with my treatment plan.
- Janeen R
All the people at the practice are very helpful and considerate. Dr. Gandhi listens to what you have to say and then makes his decision on how to proceed with care. Not a lot of doctors today do this so it's a welcomed change.
- Ken S.
I didn't feel judged or anything because I was trying to get help for my back pain. I had a very pleasant experience there to my surprise honestly. I would recommend this office to anyone who experiences severe pain.
- Heather D
Dr. Roa is such an amazing doctor! During my first visit he never tried to rush through my appt., he genuinely listened to all my concerns and then took his time to explain to me in detail all his recommendations and how they would help me.
- Nikki Walker
Always friendly, courteous, and efficient service. From the ladies, who work the front desk, to the nurses and the doctors. I've always had a good experience with the Harrisonburg office in Virginia.
- Krystal Shaffer
I have now been with Dr. Rao for 13 years. He is the most caring Doctor I have ever been to! Dr. Rao makes you feel very comfortable at all times. I would not want to go to any other Doctor... I go to the Hagerstown location, everyone is very nice
- Theresa R.
The entire staff from the folks at the front desk to the Nurse, to the Physicians Assistant to the scribe that records the visit for the doctor - (great idea so the Doctor can focus on the patient!!!)
- NVA F.
Insurance companies can make things complicated. Regardless, I have been treated by Dr. Rao for over 7 years. I receive the utmost respect. Office personnel are caring and friendly. This practice is highly respected.
- Heidi B.
Completely the best care you could want the staff is so pleasant and caring and the doctors have true heart for healing, love being a patient here would give 10 stars if I could & absolutely the most caring during my procedure with Dr B
- Cathern C.
I had been feeling ick and had a fever. I switched to a virtual appointment and was approved. It was wonderful getting to chat and talk about my concerns just as if I was there... A seamless and easy way to be seen if Covid is around.
- HeatherAnn L
They scheduled my appointment very quickly so that I can get to help that I needed immediately instead of like most places having to wait two to three weeks to get in I called and was able to be seen the next day
- John H.
Patients Seen Within Two Weeks
Minimally invasive lumbar decompression is primarily a treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Spinal stenosis causes a narrowing of the spinal canal, which then compresses the nerves and causes back pain or Sciatica pain. This procedure is performed in order to relieve some of that pressure and take away or at least reduce the pain. MILD might be considered for those who do not do well under general anesthesia or might not be able to tolerate going through a more invasive open spinal surgery. It is a common procedure and is considered to be very safe.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is specifically the narrowing of the space of the spinal canal, which contains the spinal nerves. It can happen in any part of the spine, but most often occurs in the neck and the lower back. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis is the name for the type of Stenosis that is present in the lower back and the lumbar area is made up of five lumbar vertebrae, which form part of the canal. When this area becomes compressed it will push against the nerves and trigger pain signals to be sent through the central nervous system and into the brain.
Spinal stenosis is actually, usually the result of a degenerative disease called Osteoarthritis. Both tend to occur in older age, as there is a natural, gradual wear and tear on the body and joints. Osteoarthritis tends to set in around 50 or older and spinal stenosis may follow afterwards. Other causes of spinal stenosis include bone spurs (overgrowth of bone), herniated discs, tumors, and injuries.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
While some people may not actually experience any pain associated with spinal stenosis, many will have some sort of symptoms. Symptoms do tend to vary depending on whether the condition is presenting in the cervical spine or lumbar spine.
Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis can be:
-Pain in the lower back.
-Sciatica pain, which can start in the lower back and often radiates down the legs. Sciatica generally occurs on one side of the body.
-Numbness or weakness in the legs or feet.
-Cramping or tingling in the legs or feet. This can occur if you have been standing or walking for long periods of time and will typically dissipate when you sit down or rest your body.
-Loss of bladder or bowel control. This is an indication of a serious medical issue and needs immediate medical attention.
The MILD Procedure
Before the procedure begins the patient is brought to the room, where the surgery will be performed, and the area of the back where the pain is located will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Local anesthesia will be administered in order to numb the area. X-rays will be used to mark the exact spot where the doctor will be working.
The patient will be lying face down on the operating table and a small incision will be made. The incision is only about one inch or less and multiple tubes are inserted through the incision in order to open up the space around the muscles and provide access to the spine. A final tube (only the size of a dime or nickel) is inserted so that specialized tools can then be used to correct the problem by removing any excess bone tissue or ligaments that are pressing against the nerves. This will relieve the pressure against the nerve and eliminate or significantly reduce the back pain.
After the procedure is completed, all of the tools and tube are removed and the small incision is closed and bandaged. The whole process should only take an hour. The patient is then taken to a recovery room to stay for another hour before being discharged.
What Happens Next
When you are ready to go home you will most likely need some pain medication or a muscle relaxer in case of any post-operative pain or muscle spasms you may experience during the healing process (please do not drive or operate heavy machinery if you take any pain medication). Your dressing will be able to be removed a few days to about a week after the procedure. You should also be able to resume normal activities and return to work around this time. However, it is advised to rest and restrict activities to light movements for the first few days or until the area of the procedure has healed completely.
Even with restricted movement, it is encouraged to move enough to keep the muscles from becoming stiff, but avoid excessive bending and/or twisting. Also, avoid lifting heavy objects until the area is healed.
Is Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression Right for You?
If you are suffering from chronic back pain, a pain management specialist can help determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. When other non-surgical treatment methods have not helped, your pain management doctor may recommend minimally invasive lumbar decompression to better provide you with relief. Your specialist will review the benefits of this procedure and any potential risks you may incur. If they decide it is an appropriate treatment they will then advise you on what the necessary steps will be to prepare for and go through with the procedure.
Advantages and Disadvantages of MILD
As with all procedures, there are advantages to a minimally invasive surgery and risks that a person assumes when they agree to it. One of the biggest advantages of MILD is that it’s a minimally invasive procedure, meaning it causes the least amount of trauma to the body and does not create much scar tissue formation. It is significantly easier to heal from, rather than full-on open-spinal surgery, and most people are up and walking again that same day. The procedure is typically completed in an hour or less, as an outpatient, and patients are free to ride home in a car or a plane as soon as they are released (again, usually that same day). With a smaller incision, there is less blood loss and decreased risk for infection.
While there are several advantages, there is a risk that the procedure will not improve the patient’s pain and may even make it worse. There is also a chance that an infection will occur or some bruising around the area that should clear up within a matter of days. However, these risks are very small and any infections can be treated with an antibiotic.
How To Get Started
If you would like more information about minimally invasive lumbar decompression or other pain management therapies we offer or our back specialists, please call Pain and Spine Specialists and speak to our dedicated team to improve the quality of your life. You can call (301) 895-0957 (Maryland Locations), (724) 213-8925 (Pennsylvania Locations), or (540) 218-2224 (Virginia Locations) and schedule an appointment today.
Treatments We Offer
- Spinal Cord Stimulation
- Injection Therapies
- Medication Management
- Intrathecal Pumps
- Occipital Nerve Blocks
- Alternative Therapies
- Radio Frequency Ablation
- Trigger Point Injections
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- SGB Injection for PTSD
- MILD (Lumbar Decompression
- Minuteman Spinal Fusion
- Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
- Lumbar Sympathetic Block
- Stellate Ganglion Blocks
Condition We Treat
Everything you need to know about our services, locations, treatments, frequently asked questions and much more!
Get In Touch
We are dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care and services and truly have each individual’s comfort in mind.
At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of physicians and nurse practitioners are committed to giving you the most effective treatment when treating your pain. We believe that all patients should have access to quality care, and that is why you can find us conveniently located throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.