The mild Procedure
What is the mild procedure?
The MILD procedure, or minimally invasive lumbar decompression, is an advanced procedure done by the board-certified pain physicians here at Comprehensive Spine and Sports Center to safely and effectively treat a common cause of low back and leg pain called lumbar spinal stenosis.
Lumbar spinal stenosis or LSS is a narrowing of the central canal of the lumbar spine or low back. The central canal is where the spinal cord and spinal roots live and narrowing in this region can cause pain along with numbness and tingling in the low back, buttocks, and legs. Additionally, LSS can cause something called “neurogenic claudication” where you have intense cramping in the calf area after short periods of activity including standing and walking.
While LSS can be caused by many factors, one common cause is enlargement of the ligament in the back portion of the spinal canal called the ligamentum flavum. This excess ligament tissue is safely and carefully removed during the MILD procedure.
Under x-ray guidance your doctor will guide a small port along your back to get to the ligamentum flavum. Once there, he or she will utilize small tools inserted through the port to safely the excess ligament tissue. Once the tissue is removed, the port is taken out and a bandage is placed over the small incision site.
The MILD procedure is an outpatient minimally invasive procedure. It does not require general anesthesia or strong pain medicine with side effects such as opioid medications. It is done without any implants in the spine. The incision is very small, estimated to be the size of a baby aspirin (5.1 mm) and requires no stitches for closure. The MILD procedure can help reduce your pain and increase your time standing and walking. As this is a minimally invasive procedure, there is very little time needed for recovery. In fact, most patients usually resume their normal activity within 24 hours without any restrictions.
If you have symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis such as pain, numbness, and/or tingling in the low back, buttocks, and legs or cramping in the calves with minimal activity you could be a candidate for the MILD procedure. Talk to your doctor at Comprehensive Spine and Sports Center and he or she will evaluate you. You will need an MRI of the lumbar spine for evaluation – please bring your MRI CD to your appointment. We look forward to seeing you!