Spinal stenosis can be diagnosed based on the history of symptoms,
a physical examination, and imaging tests. Once the diagnosis is confirmed,
treatment may be conservative (rest, steroid injections, medications,
and exercise) or surgical. As symptoms become debilitating, surgery may be considered a treatment option. The main goal of any surgical procedure is to remove pressure from the spinal cord or nerve roots.
This means that the tube of the spinal canal must be made larger by removing excess bone, ligaments, and abnormal tissues that are compressing the nerve roots. This type of surgical procedure is termed a decompressive laminectomy (removing a portion of the vertebral body and surrounding soft tissue). If individuals have both spinal stenosis and instability of the spine, the surgical procedure should include a decompression coupled with a spinal fusion (use of instrumentation supplemented with bone graft to maintain the structural support of the spinal column).