Patient Testimonials

testimonials


Read letters and watch video testimonials to learn more about our patients' experiences with Dr. Antonacci and Dr. Betz.

Testimonials By Condition: Spondylolisthesis, Herniated Disc, Scoliosis Kyphosis, Spinal Stenosis Sciatica, Degenerative Disc Disease.


Lumbar Stenosis

Lumbar Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower part of the spine, which places pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerves. Symptoms (e.g., bulging disc), exercise and treatments are discussed below.

Causes of Lumbar Stenosis

While some patients are born with the spinal canal narrowing, most cases of lumbar stenosis occur in patients over the age of 50 and are the result of aging and “wear and tear” on the spine. Many patients with lumbar stenosis remain symptom-free until other conditions further compress the spinal canal. Those other conditions that can cause compression may include:

  • Calcification (the ligaments of the spine thicken and harden)
  • Formation of osteophytes (bony growths on bones and joints)
  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Slipping of one vertebra onto another (spondylolisthesis)
  • Trauma (e.g., from an accident)

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Symptoms of Lumbar Stenosis

The symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include:

  • Low back pain that eases when bending forward or sitting
  • Pain, weakness, or numbness in the legs, calves or buttocks
  • Burning sensations, tingling, and pins and needles in the involved extremity (e.g., leg)
  • In severe cases, bladder and bowel problems
  • In rare, very severe cases, significant loss of function or even paraplegia

Diagnosis of Lumbar Stenosis

The physicians at our practice care about your health; therefore we use a combination of techniques and sophisticated technology to help make an accurate diagnosis:

  • Medical history. We will talk to you about your symptoms, how severe they are, and what treatments you have already tried.
  • Physical examination. You will be carefully examined by one of our spine specialists for limitations of movement, problems with balance, pain, loss of reflexes in the extremities, muscle weakness, loss of sensation, and other signs of spinal cord injury.
  • Diagnostic tests. Generally, we start with plain x-rays, which allow us to rule out other problems such as tumors and infections. CT scans and MRIs give us three-dimensional views of the spine and can help detect osteophytes and herniated discs. With some patients we may order a Myelogram, a test that involves injecting a liquid dye into the spinal column to show where the pressure on the nerve is occurring.

Spinal Stenosis Treatment:

Non-Operative Treatment for Lumbar Stenosis

Most cases of lumbar stenosis are successfully treated with non-surgical techniques such as pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications. Severe pain may also be treated with corticosteroids that are injected into the lower back (i.e., epidural steroid injections). Depending on the extent of nerve involvement, some patients may need to temporarily restrict their activities. However, most patients only need to rest for a brief time. Physical therapy exercises will also be prescribed to help strengthen and stabilize the spine as well build endurance and increase flexibility.

Surgical Treatment for Lumbar Stenosis

If these non-surgical measures do not work, we may recommend surgery. There are a number of surgical techniques that we can use to treat this condition. The goal of each of these surgical treatments is to widen the spinal canal and relieve the pressure by removing the cause of compression. We will, of course, discuss all of your options with you before deciding which procedure is best for you.

The most common surgery for lumbar stenosis is called a decompressive laminectomy ,in which the laminae (roof) of the vertebrae are removed, creating more space in the spinal canal for the nerves. If only a portion of the laminae need to be removed, it is called a laminotomy. If there are herniated or bulging discs, these may also be removed (called a discectomy) to increase canal space. Sometimes the foramen (the area where the nerve roots exit the spinal canal) may also need to be enlarged; this procedure is called a foraminotomy.

For those patients who need surgical repair on more than one level, or who have significant spinal instability, spinal fusion may be required in addition to the decompression surgery. This traditionally involves taking a small piece of bone (usually from the hip) and grafting it onto the spine. More recently, for some cases, we are using bone substitutes such as bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) to facilitate spine fusion. Spinal implants (called instrumentation) such as screws and rods are used to support the spine and provide additional stability while the fusion is healing. In most cases, we can determine ahead of time if fusion surgery is necessary. At our practice, we perform many fusions using minimally invasive surgical techniques, thus reducing trauma to soft tissues, reducing blood loss, and ultimately leading to a more rapid recovery. If a fusion is necessary, we will discuss this with you in advance.

EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Antonacci has spent years pioneering the latest techniques and improvements in spinal surgery, and has worked extensively on new less invasive, muscle-sparing approaches to interbody fusions in the lumbar spine.
Dr. Antonacci's Minamally Invasive Approach

Recovery from Surgery for Lumbar Stenosis

At our practice, most patients can begin getting out of bed on the same day that surgery is performed. Activity is gradually increased and patients are typically able to go home within 1-2 days after their procedure, depending on the extent of the surgery. As with most surgeries, there will be some pain after the procedure; however, we have pain medications available that will keep you comfortable.

At home, you will need to continue to rest. You may still need to take the pain medications for a while. However, pain and discomfort should gradually reduce within a week or two after surgery. You will also be instructed on how to gradually increase your activity. We will provide specific instruction regarding when and how to resume such basic activities as walking and driving. In addition, we will discuss with you a timetable for returning to more advanced activities such as yard work, sports and work. Your health is our primary concern. Like you, we are eager to see you return to a healthy, pain-free and active life.

 

Our Offices Are Conveniently Located in Manhattan and Central New Jersey

Have Your Spine Case Doctor-Reviewed by Nationally Renowned Spine Surgeon, Dr. Darryl Antonacci. After Doctors’s review, a staff member from Dr. Antonacci’s and Dr. Betz’s office will contact you typically within 48 hours for more information about your condition or to schedule an appointment.

Our Office Locations


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Near Princeton, NJ
3100 Princeton Pike,
Bldg. 1-D
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Office: 609-912-1500
Fax: 609-912-1600


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Upper East Side, NYC
800A Fifth Avenue,
Suite 301
New York, NY 10065
Office: 609-912-1500
Fax: 609-912-1600


NJ and NY Spine Surgery Treatment Centers


University Medical Center,
Princeton NJ

253 Witherspoon St, Princeton, NJ 08540
Mount Sinai Medical Center,
New York City

1 Gustave L. Levy Pl, New York, NY 10029
Saint Peter’s University Hospital,
New Brunswick, NJ

254 Easton Ave, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
 

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Scoliosis Research Society National Board of Medical Examiners AOSpine Europe Consumers Research Council of America

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