Spinal cord stimulator versus laminectomy for stenosis

Posted by kristineberry @kristineberry, Sat, Oct 26 6:52am

Trying to do research for my 72-yr old mother who has stenosis in L4/L5. She has tried steroids, pain meds, etc. but has had no relief and is now really struggling to walk, when she was dancing earlier this year. She had a doctor tell her she should get a laminectomy. When she saw the neurosurgeon where she lives (rural area) he told her she should consider a spinal cord stimulator instead of surgery. I'm trying to understand why he would recommend this option instead of surgery, when she has no other complicating risk factors (i.e. she is otherwise healthy, not on medication, doesn't smoke, etc.). Can't find anything online about comparing the two treatment options. All I can find is about using a stimulator after a failed laminectomy, not reasons to use a stimulator instead of a laminectomy. Seems like it is treating the symptoms and not the underlying problem. Any advice or data is appreciated.

@kristenberry. Welcome to connect . We aren't Dr,s but can help with problems similar to ours. I don't have stenosis but have 2 fractures one is the L4 My pain Dr told me about the stimulater and explained they put 2 wires on either side of your spinal canal and external pack to signal pain then it sends a electri message to brain to stop the pain. There has been a lot of talk on here of good and bad results some have had this procedure then had it taken out . For me I don't want anything near my spinal colum so do the injections which last 3 months . This is just the information I received from my Dr. Has your explained it to you ?


Hello @kristineberry, I'd like to add my welcome to lioness'. I'd also like to invite a few members who have had experience with a laminectomy, spinal stimulator, or both. @rjmcb, @cbrackle, @amyjo4003, and @joanmahon have talked about one or both treatments and may be able to share their experiences with both. I'd also like to invite @ashby1947, @candrgonzalez, @sandytoes14, and @rayreich3 as they have all discussed living with spinal stenosis on Connect as well.

@kristineberry, not knowing your mother's exact situation, here are some potential resources to explore:


@kristineberry, you mentioned you were confused as to why the provider suggested a stimulator in favor of surgery. Did he or she discuss age and surgery complications as a potential issue? Would a stimulator still require a surgery to place the leads?

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